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Birdsong Ascending

Birdsong Ascending

by Sam Harrison

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Frank Birdsong is caught in a double bind. He is romancing the daughter of a former lover while gradually falling back in love with her mother; at the same time, he is investigating attempts by persons unknown to implicate his planned golf course development in alleged toxic dumping. Harrison ( Walls of Blue Coquina ) serves up a moody exercise in Florida noir with narration by the older woman, which proves to be an awkward device. Like the Florida landscapes in which it is set, the novel seems overgrown with the foliage of mood and character, so dense with incident and subsidiary plots--lost souls, shattered families, suicide, murder and the ravages of old age--that several books might easily be wrought out of the material packed into this single volume. The author finally unites the major themes and most of the characters, and although the working out of the principal elements seems a trifle schematic, the result is an effective and evocative example of Southern gothic, with a touch of magical realism. ( Jan. )
Library Journal
Frank Birdsong, handsome, wealthy, and middle-aged, plans to marry Kitty Montgomery, the prettiest girl in Calhoun, Florida, until her mother, Doris, attempts suicide. That act rekindles Frank and Doris's secret love affair, which had ended 20 years ago when her husband drowned mysteriously and Frank left town. But Doris's plot to ruin her daughter's lover is already set in motion and cannot be stopped. The unusual lovers' triangle creates a compelling story. Explorations into the characters' childhood experiences adds depth and reveals the sources of their guilt, which rules their lives and ultimately leads to their destruction. This bizarre tragedy, filled with irony, haunts the reader long after the book has been closed. Recommended.-- Joanne Snapp, Virginia Commonwealth Univ., Richmond

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st ed
Product dimensions:
5.83(w) x 8.58(h) x 1.42(d)

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