BookBrowse Reviews The Bird Skinner by Alice Greenway

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The Bird Skinner

by Alice Greenway

The Bird Skinner
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jan 2014, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 2014, 336 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Rebecca Foster

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The Solomon Islands meets coastal Maine in this intricate novel about an aging ornithologist's problematic past.

One winter night in 1973, Jim Kennoway returns in secret to his summer home on Fox Island, in Maine's Penobscot Bay. He has been an army lieutenant; a naturalist with a book about the avifauna of Oceania to his credit; an ornithologist and skinner of birds for New York City's American Museum of Natural History; and an unreliable husband and father. Now in his early seventies, having lost a leg to disease, Jim is fast turning into an alcoholic recluse, like some later-life Ernest Hemingway figure: "He'd become a mothballed, dried-up skin himself. A shriveled specimen preserved by alcohol—gin, in his case."

Life will not allow him to slip away into drunken oblivion just yet, though, for in a stunning clash of worlds, he will soon play host to a young woman from the Solomon Islands (see 'Beyond the Book'). Jim spent some time in Guadalcanal and its sister islands when he served in ...

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