"One to look out for: a rare, delicate novel...You can't help but be caught up in the way Hinnefeld portrays their hunger for winged creatures, and for each other...lovely." Ron Charles, The Washington Post Book World
"Engaging, smart." The San Francisco Chronicle
interesting and intricate...highly original.”Dallas Morning News
“[An] elegiac first novel
replete with plotlines, three dimensional characters, and multiple themes. That both makes it a candidate for multiple readings each time through you're likely to find something new to appreciate and a difficult book to review
a love story, or a tale about the complicated relationship between mothers and daughters, or the choices cancer forces upon you. Others may see it as the story of longtime friendships between women, or the development of an eco-activist. In truth, Hinnefeld is writing about all of these things, and she weaves them together seamlessly, in prose that is both poetic and understated
Hinnefeld not only knows birds and their songs, she understands how relationships change, both subtly and overtly, how love matures, how daughters grow up, how mothers die, and how, in the end, the reality of change is all we have to hold on to.”Nancy Pearl, KUOW and Pearl’s Picks
“A rich first novel about love, loss, and the fragile beauty of nature
Particularly notable for its engrossing details about bird life
moving.”Library Journal, starred review
“A worthwhile read
Even if you don’t normally read character dramas such as this, give it a shot. I was glad I did.”Birder’s Library
“A reverence for motherhood and the environment pervades Hinnefeld’s quite sad novel, her first. That and the importance of finding a way to keep fighting from the grave.”The New York Times Book Review
“Provocative and page-turning
Hinnefeld’s drama soars
.” Publishers Weekly
“A compelling and mysterious novel.” Ursula Hegi
“I loved Joyce Hinnefeld’s debut novel In Hovering Flight so much that I’m at a loss for the right words to adequately portray it. How to describe this unusual novel that is part field notes of a radical environmentalist, part ornithology lecture (complete with beautiful Latin names for birds like Zenaida Macroura, more commonly known as Mourning Dove), part unconventional love story, and part confessional? In a wordbreathtaking.”The Internet Review of Books
“Elegant and entrancing.”Feminist Review.org
The movement of this novel is frankly a miracle, but a natural onelike the graceful flight of a bird, gliding along a path you couldn't trace if you tried. I can't imagine how the author conceived of this structure or had any idea where she was as she was creating it. But the more I read, the more impressed I became at her gently insistent exploration. This is a book so assured and confident that it gradually teaches you how to read it. Hinnefeld moves again and again through the lives of Tom, Addie and Scarlet, revisiting the same events, letting details slowly accrue, building our understanding of these characters and their complicated friendships. A certain degree of suspense builds up, but that's not really the point. In Hovering Flight is as quiet as twilight and just as lovely.
The Washington Post
In this provocative and page-turning debut novel, Hinnefeld (Tell Me Everything and Other Stories) recounts the life of bird-lover, environmental activist and artist Addie Sturmer Kavanagh. Opening with Addie's death from cancer, and her troublesome dying wish-"clear orders for a brazenly illegal burial"-Hinnefeld's narrative migrates to Addie's days as a college art student, when she fell in love with birds and with the professor teaching her their biology, Tom Kavanagh. The early years of Addie and Tom's romance follows their birding and collaboration on an environmental, antiwar birding book destined to become a classic. Soon enough, though, the birth of their daughter, Scarlet, along with Addie's growing political and environmental awareness, relegate romance to the back seat. As Addie's creative vision shifts from avian homage to political tirade, the effects of her outspoken eco-outrage on her daughter, husband and two closest girlfriends are predictable but authentic, and at times moving. Hinnefeld's drama soars, especially in its depiction of Addie's complicated relationship with Scarlet, who's also trying to find her "wings." (Sept.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Hinnefeld (Tell Me Everything: And Other Stories) has written a rich first novel about love, loss, and the fragile beauty of nature. When intense, artistic Addie Sturmer enrolls in Professor Tom Kavanagh's "Biology of the Birds" class at rural Burnham College, Tom recognizes in Addie his own ornithological passion and quickly falls in love with her. They marry, setting up house in a cottage in the woods, where Addie paints birds and Tom researches birdsong when he's not teaching. But this idyllic beginning doesn't always mirror their life together. Over the years, Addie becomes increasingly radical in her environmental concerns, and her artwork takes on a gruesome twist. Tom struggles to make Addie happy while being consumed by his own work. Their grown daughter, Scarlet, alternately rebels against her counterculture parents and struggles through her poetry to embrace her conflicting feelings about Addie. But when Addie is in the last stages of cancer, the characters reunite to deal with their demons and to find some measure of peace with each other. Particularly notable for its engrossing details about bird life, this moving book is strongly recommended for all fiction collections.