W. M. Philion (aka Michael Philion) was born and raised in Glens Falls, New York. Father of three grown children and a two-time grandfather, he began fiction writing in his mid-forties. Baggattaway was published in 2009 and was followed by Finch In A Funnel in 2012. Philion resides in southern New Hampshire and teaches German.
I've read this book more than once. Ok, four times! After the first read I knew I had missed too many details and intentions. I also thought there was one weak character, which made me wonder... The author and I had a conversation after I read his first book, Baggattaway (READ THAT BOOK, TOO!) because I had a beef about one of his characters. He set me straight, so I knew I was missing something this time. I made sense of everything during the second read and it was even more rewarding than the first. But, the major themes are right there in your face: grief, friendship, religions and their powerful impact on the brotherhood of man, family, world travel, personal revelation, etc, etc. My third reading of this book was for pure enjoyment. The fourth, too. It's hard to be prepared for something you've never experienced and that's what this book is. It's also what the characters in the book learned. The imagery of the "finch in the funnel" is clever and weaves its way in and out of the story, always finding its way back to your frontal lobe at just the right time. As an aside, I only read Baggattaway once and now it's circulating among the family. I can't wait to get it back!
This is a great novel. Magical without being hokey or cute or pedantic; written with beauty and embellishment with a sense of wonder; full of humor and grief; written as an outsider looks at innermost humanity. I mean, this book is great.
It's not without its faults. The real glaring one for me was the very unique language of the narrator being almost universal among characters. But that's OK. I can forgive this the moment the image of the finch in the funnel pops into my head. It's an existentialist book, I think, in the old tradition of existentialism. It's about finding meaning in the face of fatalism. This is a book written with courage. It takes risks. To me these risks pay off.
What a refreshing approach this book takes in examining the identifiable peculiarities of human nature. If you want to impress that certain someone or frankly just give the gift of a delicious cerebral cocktail, buy them this book and hand it to them with a knowing nod.
I am writing this review not because I can tell you what the book means, but because it was such an excellent read!! Once I got started, it was late hours into the wee morning before I could stop and get some sleep! It touches on so many of my interests, travel to foreign countries, music, and the landscape, in particular, the Sahara desert! I've always had an attraction to the desert, to shifting sands that seem to be what so much of our culture is built upon these days. And yet here, the Sahara is something that is conscious, constant; something enduring, more enduring than might be guessed. And as a central character of the book, well, now you get to hear it speak... but there is so much more...
I remember in elementary school, we would always end the book report with "If you want to find out what happens, get ______ ___ _ _______ to read for yourself". In this case, you won't be sorry you did! It's a wonderful read!