Most helpful critical review
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Read THE BIRD ARTIST instead.
on May 10, 1999
I picked up THE NORTHERN LIGHTS after having read Norman's superb second novel, THE BIRD ARTIST, and was disappointed. Although reviews were strong for this book, and I believe it was a National Book Award finalist, it felt like an apprentice effort to me. The characters and situations were strange--as they often were in THE BIRD ARTIST--but not nearly as compelling. The plot was loose and slippery, and didn't cohere by the end of the novel. It felt like Norman was trying too hard to be obscure and poetic. This is a mediocre first novel, but does hint at the wonderful things to come. Now go read THE BIRD ARTIST.