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Snapper (Vintage Contemporaries) Kindle Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 95 customer reviews

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Length: 226 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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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: 2797 KB
  • Print Length: 226 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1 edition (April 23, 2013)
  • Publication Date: April 23, 2013
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009Y4I4I8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #497,139 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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 ›
1 Comment 20 of 23 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm aware that Snapper has generated rave reviews, but my view is more moderate. Snapper tells the story of Nathan Lochmueller, a young man trying to find his way in the world, working first as field researcher studying birds in small woodland tract in southern Indiana. Along the way we meet his friends, the unattainable girl, Lola, and Nathan's wife. Kimberling writes with an assured informal voice, and he has an eye for quirky characters and situations. But some of these vignettes seem half-developed. For instance, on one of his bird observation forays into the woodland, Nathan spots a hunter who pointlessly blows away some of Nathan's beloved songbirds while Nathan watches from the bushes. Nathan does not confront the hunter nor report him and the matter is abruptly dropped. I was hoping for a more cohesive, developed novel than what this book is, a series of linked short stories. Or, at least that's how it seems to me. In some ways, Snapper reminds me of Brian Doyle's Mink River, which also offers linked stories of a small Oregon town with a dose of magical realism thrown in. Of two, I preferred Mink River.
Comment 13 of 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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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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Comment 11 of 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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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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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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