142 Ostriches: Book summary and reviews of 142 Ostriches by April Davila

142 Ostriches

by April Davila

142 Ostriches by April Davila X
142 Ostriches by April Davila
  • Readers' rating:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published in USA  Feb 2020
    272 pages
    Genre: Novels

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

Set against the unexpected splendor of an ostrich ranch in the California desert, April Dávila's beautifully written debut conjures an absorbing and compelling heroine in a story of courage, family and forgiveness.

When Tallulah Jones was thirteen, her grandmother plucked her from the dank Oakland apartment she shared with her unreliable mom and brought her to the family ostrich ranch in the Mojave Desert. After eleven years caring for the curious, graceful birds, Tallulah accepts a job in Montana and prepares to leave home. But when Grandma Helen dies under strange circumstances, Tallulah inherits everything—just days before the birds inexplicably stop laying eggs.
 
Guarding the secret of the suddenly barren birds, Tallulah endeavors to force through a sale of the ranch, a task that is complicated by the arrival of her extended family. Their designs on the property, and deeply rooted dysfunction, threaten Tallulah's ambitions and eventually her life. With no options left, Tallulah must pull her head out of the sand and face the fifty-year legacy of a family in turmoil: the reality of her grandmother's death, her mother's alcoholism, her uncle's covetous anger, and the 142 ostriches whose lives are in her hands. 

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Davila's breezy, elegant prose captures the desert's growing appeal to Tallulah ("Finally, the sun cleared the horizon and blasted everything with its full light"; "There wouldn't be mornings like this in Montana"). The fascinating details of operating an ostrich ranch elevate this family tale." - Publishers Weekly

"A story told with depth and beauty about the many things we inherit from our families. Dávila's characters are familiar, yet unforgettable, and I'm waiting patiently for what she writes next." - Wayétu Moore, author of She Would Be King

"Tolstoy probably never envisioned an unhappy family which included ostriches, but these fine feathered beasts nearly steal the heart of this humane and heartfelt debut novel. Davila's protagonist Tallulah must navigate that most fundamental of choices: should I stay or should I go? Anyone who has ever felt the insistent tug of Somewhere Else doing battle with the responsibilities of their Here and Now will find something of themselves in these fine pages." - Mark Sarvas, author of Memento Park

"An engrossing and original tale of love, betrayal, and extremely large birds, April Dávila's 142 Ostriches is a novel that blooms like springtime in the California desert. Fiercely independent, brave, and tender, Tallulah Jones is a heroine for our time." - Seth Greenland, author of The Hazards of Good Fortune

"Vividly imagined and deeply felt, 142 Ostriches is an utterly absorbing tale of an intrepid young woman coming of age in the California desert. I loved Davila's big-hearted debut about land, family, and the ties that bind. Highly recommended." - Lindsey Lee Johnson, author of The Most Dangerous Place on Earth

"142 Ostriches is unlike anything I've read before. Wholly unique, this cinematic novel exposes readers to the relatively unknown industry of ostrich farming. In Davila's skillful hands, the desert comes alive and the ostriches are as compelling as the human characters. Tallulah herself is a memorable, strong-willed protagonist. Her struggle to negotiate family obligations with her own desires feels both singular and highly relatable. I loved following her through the pages of this fast-paced and lovely novel." - Amy Meyerson, author of The Bookshop of Yesterdays

"April Davila has made the rare thing: The perfect meeting of plot and character. A hurtling adventure of family intrigue helmed by a heroine for the ages, Davila's novel will make your heart swell as big as an ostrich egg, and then hatch it." - Katie Williams, author of Tell The Machine Goodnight

"Davila's observant prose conjures the drama of sun-scorched days and the calm of cool painted evenings as it chronicles the struggles and rewards of a rugged life in the vast Mohave. This is a story that envelops you with a sense of place, and uses its setting to reveal how the human heart, like wildflowers after a rampaging storm, can thrive in the harshest conditions. It is a tale as surprising and delightful as a profusion of florid color in the sandy stretches of the California desert." - Yvonne Puig, author of A Wife of Nobel Character

"142 Ostriches, April Davila's utterly unique novel, nails the Zeitgeist when she inherits a Death Valley bird ranch she'd hoped to escape. An avian Greek chorus, the birds seem to observe and share her longing to stand in a place of my own choosing. With unsentimental acuity, her narrator confronts the intangible covenant foisted upon her, and the reality that the disposal of her flock, from nature to product, is by no means a matter just for the birds." - Rita Williams, author of If the Creek Don't Rise

"An unusual ranching tale set in the Mojave Desert, where the herd is a flock of eight foot tall birds and their wrangler a young woman raised by her gruff grandmother who dreams of another kind of life. A twisty, warmhearted story of family, community and fate, a thoroughgoing delight." - Janet Fitch, author of The Revolution of Marina M and Chimes of a Lost Cathedral

"Compelling and beautifully written — you need to read this book." - Erin La Rosa, author of The Big Redhead Book and Womanskills

This information about 142 Ostriches shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

More Information

April Dávila received her master's degree in writing from the University of Southern California. She is a member of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers and a past resident at the Dorland Mountain Arts Colony. Her blog, at aprildavila.com, was recently listed by Writer's Digest as one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers. A fourth-generation Californian, she lives in La Cañada Flintridge with her husband and two children. She is a practicing Buddhist, half-hearted gardener, and occasional runner. 142 Ostriches is her first novel.

More Author Information

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more novels...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Genesis
    Genesis
    by Guido Tonelli
    Popular science books represent an important niche in non-fiction. They build a bridge between ...
  • Book Jacket: Buses Are a Comin'
    Buses Are a Comin'
    by Charles Person, Richard Rooker
    Charles Person was just 18 years old in 1961 when he became the youngest of the first wave of '...
  • Book Jacket: Firekeeper's Daughter
    Firekeeper's Daughter
    by Angeline Boulley
    Angeline Boulley's young adult novel Firekeeper's Daughter follows 18-year-old Daunis — ...
  • Book Jacket: Winter in Sokcho
    Winter in Sokcho
    by Elisa Dusapin
    Our unnamed narrator is a young French-Korean woman who works at a guest house in Sokcho, a popular ...

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
Of Women and Salt
by Gabriela Garcia
A kaleidoscopic portrait of generations of women from a 19th-century Cuban cigar factory to the present day.

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Crossing the River
    by Carol Smith

    A powerful exploration of grief that combines memoir, reportage, and lessons in how to heal.

  • Book Jacket

    A Theater for Dreamers
    by Polly Samson

    A spellbinding tour-de-force about the beauty between naïveté and cruelty, artist and muse.

Who Said...

Be sincere, be brief, be seated

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

A S I T closet

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.