The Spectator Bird

The Spectator Bird

4.0 9
by Wallace Stegner, Edward Herrmann
     
 

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Joe Allston is a retired literary agent who is, in his own words, “killing time before time gets around to killing me.” His parents and his only son are long dead, leaving him with neither ancestors nor descendants, tradition nor ties. His job, trafficking the talent of others, had not been his choice. He passes through life as a spectator.

A

Overview

Joe Allston is a retired literary agent who is, in his own words, “killing time before time gets around to killing me.” His parents and his only son are long dead, leaving him with neither ancestors nor descendants, tradition nor ties. His job, trafficking the talent of others, had not been his choice. He passes through life as a spectator.

A postcard from a friend causes him to return to the journals of a trip he had taken with his wife twenty years before, a journey to his mother’s birthplace, where he’d sought a link with the past. The memories of that trip, both grotesque and poignant, read aloud to his wife so she too can reminisce, move through layers of time and meaning and reveal that Joe Allston isn’t quite spectator enough.

This portrait of a husband and wife’s marriage and a son’s pursuit of his mother’s memory is a literary masterpiece.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Edward Herrmann is perhaps best known to younger audiences as kindly, patrician Richard Gilmore on the television series Gilmore Girls. Here, Herrmann uses his same elegant persona to amplify and underscore the bittersweet nuance of Stegner's novel about a retired man who travels to his mother's Danish hometown. There are hidden reserves of frustration and displeasure in Stegner's tale, and Herrmann aptly conveys these emotions with short, sharp bursts of dialogue matched with longer, more drawn-out ellipses of exposition. He even manages a serviceable Danish accent to top off his flawless performance. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
"It is the autobiographical nature of Stegner's work . . . that makes it so compelling. In every novel, the narrator has all the gifts of language, empathy, and philosophy, but he nonetheless can never free himself from the torments of the past."
—Jane Smiley, from the Introduction

"Elegant and entertaining . . . every scene [is] adroitly staged and each effect precisely accomplished."
—The Atlantic

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781441724946
Publisher:
Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication date:
02/01/2010
Edition description:
Unabridged
Pages:
1
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.60(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"It is the autobiographical nature of Stegner's work . . . that makes it so compelling. In every novel, the narrator has all the gifts of language, empathy, and philosophy, but he nonetheless can never free himself from the torments of the past."
-Jane Smiley, from the Introduction

"Elegant and entertaining . . . every scene [is] adroitly staged and each effect precisely accomplished."
-The Atlantic

Meet the Author

Edward Herrmann (1943–2014) was one of America’s top audiobook narrators. He won multiple Earphones and Audie Awards, and his narration of the King James version of the Bible remains a benchmark in the industry.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
February 18, 1909
Date of Death:
April 13, 1993
Place of Birth:
Lake Mills, Iowa
Place of Death:
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Education:
B.A., University of Utah, 1930; attended University of California, 1932-33; Ph. D., State University of Iowa, 1935

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The Spectator Bird 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought that this was one of the best books that I have read recently. While I am younger than the narrator, he muses about many issues related to aging and fulfillment that I an beginning to consider. There are a number of beautiful and/or profound passages and the ultimate story definitely held my attention and some of the themes are very thought provoking.
patio14 More than 1 year ago
Stegner is a beautiful writer. His descriptions are thought filled and are lovely observations of life and the world around us. His character in this book makes one think he was also a most accurate observer of people. I will read anything he wrote, but Angle of Repose is still my favorite.
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