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Snapper (Vintage Contemporaries) [Kindle Edition]

Brian Kimberling
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $5.01 (33%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

A great, hilarious new voice in fiction: the poignant, all-too-human recollections of an affable bird researcher in the Indiana backwater as he goes through a disastrous yet heartening love affair with the place and its people.
 
Nathan Lochmueller studies birds, earning just enough money to live on. He drives a glitter-festooned truck, the Gypsy Moth, and he is in love with Lola, a woman so free-spirited and mysterious she can break a man’s heart with a sigh or a shrug. Around them swirls a remarkable cast of characters: the proprietor of Fast Eddie’s Burgers & Beer, the genius behind “Thong Thursdays”; Uncle Dart, a Texan who brings his swagger to Indiana with profound and nearly devastating results; a snapping turtle with a taste for thumbs; a German shepherd who howls backup vocals; and the very charismatic state of Indiana itself. And at the center of it all is Nathan, creeping through the forest to observe the birds he loves and coming to terms with the accidental turns his life has taken.


This ebook edition includes a Reading Group Guide.  



Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* In those awkward, drifting, postcollege years, when many young men find themselves working behind a counter, Nathan Lochmueller learns he has a gift for tracking songbirds. Given a job as a research assistant, he becomes intimately familiar with one square mile of south central Indiana near Bloomington, where he imagines himself in kinship with the great naturalists of early America. The pay is poor, but the woods provide solace through rocky, hand-to-mouth years, during which Nathan pines for the lovely but free-spirited Lola and experiences the growing apart that accompanies growing up. Told with precise and memorable prose in beautifully rendered, time-shifted vignettes, Snapper richly evokes the emotions of coming to adulthood. Nathan’s fascination with the physical world and with living an authentic and meaningful life, his disdain for jingoistic environmentalism, and his struggle to find balance between the cloistered liberalism of college towns and the conservatism of small towns are thoughtfully explored. All this, and it’s funny, too. Whether it’s a snapping turtle biting off a friend’s finger or a borrowed dog finding a human thigh bone in a cemetery, Kimberling writes gracefully about absurdity, showing a rich feeling for the whole range of human tragicomedy. A delightful debut. --Keir Graff

Review

NPR's Best Books of the Year 2013
ELLE'S LETTRES READERS' PRIZE 2013

O, the Oprah Magazine: 10 Titles to Pick Up Now
Vogue: “Strongest Debut Fictions of the Spring”
Vanity Fair: “Hot Type”

 
“Reading Brian Kimberling’s debut novel, Snapper, is a fascinating and disorienting experience. The protagonist is Nathan Lochmueller, a southern Indiana native, who makes a meager living observing the effect of climate change on the region’s songbirds. The single square mile of woods that composes his domain is really a metaphor for the region as a whole, and Lochmueller moves through it with a mixture of familiarity and bewilderment. . . . Like Indiana’s leaves, the colors of Kimberling’s book are vivid, often startling.” —The Washington Post

“Poignant as well as thought-provoking—a delightful departure from the ordinary. . . . It’s quite a feat, to keep readers reading on the strength of laughter. Kimberling . . . turns the trick effortlessly.” —The Seattle Times 
 
“Mr. Kimberling grew up in the Hoosier state, and the book captures the place with wry humor, affection for its woodlands and exasperation with its provincialism.” —The New York Times

“Excellent debut novel . . . a delightful, wry story of a young ornithologist romping around the Indiana backcountry in a glitter-encrusted truck called the Gypsy Moth. There’s no doubting Kimberling’s own expertise in (or obsession with) birding after reading either the book.” —Flavorwire

“Funny+adroit fiction.” —Margaret Atwood, via Twitter
 
“Brian Kimberling’s Snapper is a phenomenal book, quietly profound and as entertaining as any book I’ve read in the past five years. . . . Kimberling articulates, better than anyone I’ve read, the sorrow that arises from trying to find the magic of one’s youth with the original ingredients.” —Weston Cutter, Minneapolis Star Tribune
 
“This kind of small-town adolescence is uniquely American, and it’s a lifestyle that’s rapidly vanishing. Brian Kimberling perfectly captures this experience in his debut novel, Snapper. . . . Kimberling writes about all of this in a voice part John Audubon, part Holden Caulfield but uniquely his own. The book’s pace is leisurely, the mood is sometimes melancholy, and readers will finish the final page feeling thoroughly satisfied.” —CNN.com

“[A] hilarious debut novel.” —O, the Oprah Magazine: 10 Titles to Pick Up Now
 
“Brian Kimberling's debut novel, Snapper, is a lovely, loose-limbed collection of stories about an aimless ornithologist.” —NPR.org, First Reads
 
“Brian Kimberling’s debut novel, Snapper, captures the high lonesome beauty of a songbird’s canorous call. Nathan Lochmueller, an amateur ornithologist and future falconer, adventures through the Indiana wilds heartsick with Yeatsian love but full of good humor and stumbling grace. As Nathan searches for starlings, he teaches us all to care more deeply about the wonders and dangers of the natural world. Snapper is a brilliant field study, a soulful guide to the humble glories and enduring legacies of the Great Midwest. Brian Kimberling is a writer of serious wit and wisdom.” —Amber Dermont, author of The Starboard Sea and Damage Control

“Brian Kimberling is an amazingly talented and wise writer. Snapper is filled with sly humor and uncommon grace and some of the most memorable characters to appear in fiction in recent years.” —Donald Ray Pollock, author of The Devil All the Time

“[A] catchy, well-written debut novel. . . . [An] accomplished, ironic Midwest coming-of-age tale.” —Publishers Weekly

“In those awkward, drifting, post-college years, when many young men find themselves working behind a counter, Nathan Lochmueller learns he has a gift for tracking songbirds. . . . Told with precise and memorable prose in beautifully rendered, time-shifted vignettes, Snapper richly evokes the emotions of coming to adulthood. Nathan’s fascination with the physical world and with living an authentic and meaningful life, his disdain for jingoistic environmentalism, and his struggle to find balance between the cloistered liberalism of college towns and the conservatism of small towns are thoughtfully explored. All this and it’s funny, too. . . . Kimberling writes gracefully about absurdity, showing a rich feeling for the whole range of human tragicomedy. A delightful debut.” —Booklist, starred review

Product Details

  • File Size: 1568 KB
  • Print Length: 242 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0755396200
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1 edition (April 23, 2013)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009Y4I4I8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #250,708 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Snapper was missing something... July 16, 2013
By 8886370
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I don't know what but after I got about a third of the way in, I had started to lose interest. I almost had the feeling the author was some hipster trying to write about his hipness...I did finish it, but I had to almost force myself to keep plowing through. I bought this on a recommendation of a fellow reader friend...he's in the same boat as I am on his opinion of the story as well.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious and wise, fantastically written April 27, 2013
By Jo D.
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Having raced through the interlocked stories of Snapper once, I'm already trying to re-read and savor them, but now more slowly. Kimberling's book is so very enjoyable, so frequently laugh-out-loud funny, that its artistry is not immediately apparent, but in truth he pulls off something very difficult here: in Nathan Lochmueller, professional bird tracker and slacker university student, he pens a narrator who is genuinely sympathetic despite his carefully enumerated failures. Partly, it's easy to sympathize with Nathan, given his great love and appreciation for the flora and fauna [and extreme weather and diners and colorful inhabitants] of his homestate, Indiana, but on the other hand Nathan seems intent on challenging our sympathy by parading his own blindnesses and failures of understanding or sympathy. While most of these chronologically ordered and psychologically interwoven stories [Winesburg, Ohio might be the best analogy, if you think of George's centralizing, pivotal role] feature Nathan as the spectator of some usually funny, though often quite moving or painful vignette, a role he inhabits with aplomb as a sort of amused and astute tour guide, overall the reader is enjoined to spectate on Nathan, and chronicle and calibrate his moral failings as carefully as he does his wood thrushes and ovenbirds. As a result, the book overall leaves you with the experience of feeling you've been well entertained and you've met some fantastic and unforgettably rich, distinct characters and seen Indiana up close in a way that makes you too fall in love the state, but it also makes you think more deeply about the painful process that coming of age in one's twenties can be. Read more ›
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Nathan Lochmueller studies birds. He is in love with a free-spirited, mysterious woman named Lola, has some oddball friends, and a love-hate relationship with his home state of Indiana. Those are the constants in this series of vignettes that are loosely woven into a novel.

Nathan is an underpaid field researcher studying songbirds in south central Indiana, a job he enjoys. In a first person narrative he relates a series of tales about his life: Growing up in Indiana, his friends, his adventures, his relationship with Lola, his job, and the birds. It is written in the form of a memoir. The author grew up in southern Indiana and worked as a professional birdwatcher for two years and I often got the feeling it may even be semi-autobiographical.

I enjoyed this book a lot. The stories were humorous and often quirky in an almost believable slice-of-life manner. Each of the chapters is a story, or vignette, that could be read separately. It's the type of book at could be put down and picked up again days later with ease. I wouldn't go so far as to say it is `hilarious', as the publisher's blurb describes, but definitely fun and filled with humor.

The cover with all the beautiful birds is a bit misleading as this is not a novel about birds. I was hoping it would be, but it's not. I love all things birds so it's no surprise I choose to read this based on the cover. Non-bird lovers, don't worry, you can read and enjoy this and not be overwhelmed with statistics and information about birds. What you will find are interesting, factual anecdotes about birds scattered throughout the stories. One of my favorites is Nathan's comments about the scream of an Eagle, which I, too, often mention... they don't scream.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wow. How could all the signs be so wrong? June 26, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Here are all the things this book is not:

It's not about birds, even though the cover is littered with them. Yes, the narrator has a few bird related jobs, but you won't learn much about birds and frankly even the jobs the main character has are incidental. And even though the first job is cataloging song-birds, the few little bits of bird knowledge that were in the slightest bit new for me were about raptors (Eagles and Hawks) and what nasty birds they are.

It's not about a turtle even though the name of it is "Snapper." There is one snapping turtle related story in the book and it's very inconsequential. I can't think that it's a metaphor for anything either. No idea why this is named what it is.

"A great, hilarious new voice in fiction" says the first words of the description on Amazon. I didn't find much humor in here at all, much less anything I would call hilarious.

A novel (in the traditional sense). There's not much of a plot, nor is it sequential. It's more like a rambling conversation of the the author/narrator relating moments of his life in a scattered way with little stories or comments about this or that telling you about little moments in his life, some of which had big impacts and some of which did not. They are all out of order. This might sound charming, but frankly to me it's not because it's not that interesting and I still feel like I know bits of the narrator but not enough to really build a great picture of his current life (just snapshots of bits of it...bits I didn't much connect with)

Fiction - honestly, I'm not 100% sure that a lot of this isn't autobiographical. The author also spent time as professional birdwatcher in Indiana and some of the stories related in this book are so...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!
What a wonderful, fun read! I work in the field (studying birds) and read this in my tent..really enjoyed it. Funny book that wants you having page after page.
Published 28 days ago by Brent Pease
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
This is a light, humorous tale written for someone a bit younger and more carefree than I.
Published 1 month ago by K. Johnston
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Read
I enjoyed reading this book. The author has written with verve and led me right along on a jaunty ride through his story. With lots of insightful comments to ponder.
Published 2 months ago by Michele M Barron
4.0 out of 5 stars Very nice "rambling" mind.
Dwain says: The writing style reminds me a little of Kurt Vonnegut, so I had to immediately order Sirens of Titan and Slaughterhouse Five to get immersed again :)
Published 2 months ago by Suzy and Dwain
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Yea for Hoosier writers.
Published 3 months ago by Judith Ann Kanne
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun for bird watchers
It is an OK book, held my attention, but rambled a bit. I was hoping for a less disjointed story. There were several unresolved story lines. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Ruthie
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly an original work!
This is a terrific read - sort of brilliant and rambling, which suits the material perfectly. So many gorgeous lines in this book made me laugh out loud. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Susan Gilbert-collins
3.0 out of 5 stars Easy read
This was a very quick read and pleasant throughout. It wasn't particularly enlightening or thought-provoking as far as I am concerned. It's a nice distraction of a book.
Published 4 months ago by Kimberly
5.0 out of 5 stars A Funny, Smart Read from Start to Finish
Having grown up in the Indiana countryside, where the story takes place, it was easy for me to visualize many of the the scenes in Snapper, and the characterizations and... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Greg Robertson
3.0 out of 5 stars over-praised?
My major problem with this novel is the lack of endearing characters and deep relationships. A major strength is the exploration of the contrast between a wealthy college town and... Read more
Published 7 months ago by N. Robinson
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