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Birdman Paperback – July 6, 2006


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About the Author

Anthony Caplan was born in Caracas, Venezuela to an Irish-American mother and Russian-Jewish father. He was educated in the U.S., and has worked as a journalist in Mexico, Central America, England and Ireland. Currently he lives in New Hampshire where he teaches, writes and is rebuilding a 150-year-old farmhouse.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Kagan descended from the bus in Tullamore. He examined his reflection in the window of a car and tucked in his shirt. The sun was nearly at the top of the sky, and the streets of Tullamore were filled with people, young and old, all headed in various directions at the whim of some monstrous purpose which alarmed Kagan. One thing was certain, however. Opportunity abounded in such a soup of human striving. Assuming the fervor of a revivalist, Kagan tilted his head, sucked in his gut and proceeded towards the entrance of the Joyce Hotel across the street, with pleasant hanging baskets of flowers above the door and the elegant lettering in neo-Celtic cursive above the awning. A long roomful of people were at table, and the bar was a brass-lined marble counter with polished taps and glasses of amber and pitch in the stages of being consumed. He took his place, wedging between two groups, one comprised of elderly nuns on their way to the horse fair at Mullingar, and to his right a couple in their late twenties, obviously well-to-do and recently married. Kagan raised his arm to the bartender. "The world's just exploding with ideas. There's enough brilliant ideas to sink a ship, Kathleen. That's not the point," said the groom, with the faintest trace of an American accent, as if he'd spent his university years at a college in the southwest and then had moved onto a career in Los Angeles as a pool chlorination expert/screenwriter. Then the brilliant young prodigy, winner of scholarships, including the Tullamore Historical Society's annual poetry prize for a long epic on Diarmuit and Grainne at the age of 16, had returned home with fortune made in the form of a B movie script starring Demi Moore and Joaquin Phoenix and married Kathleen, the only child of a prominent local physician. The triumphant return and betrothal followed by inevitable slough of despond, and now, apres the Tullamore Business Club lunch, the financier and freelance film executive in ponytail and Maurice Cohen suit snatches a quick Bloody Mary with Kathleen before running off to important, oh so vital meetings. Kathleen is trying to become pregnant but has so far failed to conceive. She is worried she will loose prodigy boy if not to career then to alcohol and assorted dissipations beginning to claim a large place in his spectrum of values. He lights his Cuban cigar with great fanfare. Her brow wrinkles. A sad and poignant moment in the lives of two people Kagan did not know. But he wanted to shout at them. "Stop caring so much about yourselves. Stop taking it all so seriously. Life is too short," he would have shouted, if he had really thought it would matter in the larger scheme of things.

More About the Author

1. What five words describe you?
Persistent, Essential, Symbolic, Seeking, Multidimensional

2. What was the first story you ever wrote? I mean the really bad one we all have that you're trying to hide in the back of closet now that you're published?
My really bad ones I burnt. Several have been lost along the way. Some are on my blog, http://thenewremembrance.blogspot.com The first story I ever wrote was when I was five or six. I had a toy typewriter and I wrote a story about some of my toys that were in a fight and beat each other. I think I was obsessed with violence.

3. What inspires you?
Live music, movies, good books, children, horses, and mountaintops.

4. What distracts you?
Work, children, farm chores (I live on a farm), and social media.

5. What's your favorite story? This can be specific, as in a particular book or even story-driven movie, or general, like "I'm a sucker for a hero looking for redemption story."
My favorite all-time classic story is The Odyssey by Homer. Every good story I know is a variation on the hero trying to get home. Every underdog is a variation on Ulysses. I also love father-son adventure stories. The Road by Cormac McCarthy is the best version I know of that one.

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