Brian Kimberling. Pantheon, $24.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-307-90805-6
Kimberling, formerly a professional birdwatcher, grew up in southern Indiana, the setting of his catchy, well-written debut novel. Nathan Lochmueller, a recent philosophy graduate, takes a low-paying job as a songbird researcher at his alma mater, Indiana University, during the mid-1990s. He spends all his time tramping through the forest, where he gives songbirds pet names and encounters eccentrics like a Vietnam veteran scrounging for morel mushrooms. When he’s not bird-watching, Nathan maintains a puzzling “complicated” friendship with the “lovely” Lola who refuses to marry him until it’s too late. The immature, often humorous Nathan and his equally clueless best friend Shane try smoking dried banana peels, and drunken Nathan gets arrested for destroying parking meters with a different friend. His uncouth brother, Darren, also a college graduate, is assaulted by his knife-wielding coke fiend roommate and recuperates at Nathan’s digs. They quarrel over Darren’s dope dealing; he attacks Nathan; and the resulting ear damage ends Nathan’s songbird researcher career. Nathan, past 30 and still aimless, pins his hopes on a lead to work at a Vermont raptor hospital, but his love-hate relationship with Indiana makes it difficult to move away in Kimberling’s accomplished, ironic Midwest coming-of-age tale. Agent: Will Francis, Janklow & Nesbit. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 11/19/2012
Release date: 04/23/2013
Open Ebook - 129 pages - 978-0-307-90806-3
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-7553-9619-1
Hardcover - 224 pages - 978-0-7553-9620-7
Paperback - 210 pages - 978-0-345-80336-8
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