The Spectator Bird [With Earbuds]

( 9 )

Overview

Joe Allston is a retired literary agent who is, in his own words, "just killing time until 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 Allston to return to the journals of a trip he had taken years before, a journey to his mother's ...

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The Spectator Bird

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Overview

Joe Allston is a retired literary agent who is, in his own words, "just killing time until 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 Allston to return to the journals of a trip he had taken 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, move through layers of time and meaning, and reveal that Joe Allston isn't quite spectator enough.

Winner of the 1977 National Book Award

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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.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781441724977
  • Publisher: Findaway World
  • Publication date: 4/28/2010
  • Format: Other
  • Product dimensions: 6.16 (w) x 6.86 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Meet the Author

Wallace Stegner (1909-1993) published more than two dozen works throughout his life, including Angle of Repose, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. An early environmentalist, Stegner was instrumental-with his now famous "Wilderness Letter"-in the passage of the 1964 Wilderness Act.

Jane Smiley is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of more than ten novels and four works of nonfiction. She lives in California.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 9 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2002

    Outstanding Book

    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.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 6, 2015

    Thoughtful

    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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2014

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    Posted July 12, 2009

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    Posted August 12, 2013

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    Posted May 30, 2011

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    Posted December 26, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews

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