- File Size: 1205 KB
- Print Length: 204 pages
- Publisher: Valancourt Books (May 27, 2013)
- Publication Date: May 27, 2013
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00D229VGC
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #970,305 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$15.99|
Save $12.00 (75%)
The Birds Kindle Edition
|New from||Used from|
|Length: 204 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
Matchbook Price: $0.00
For thousands of qualifying books, your past, present, and future print-edition purchases now lets you buy the Kindle edition for $2.99 or less. (Textbooks available for $9.99 or less.)
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Customers who bought this item also bought
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The reprinting of Frank Baker's obscure novel The Birds (1936) is a bit of a revelation. First and foremost The Birds is part of the long tradition of a dystopian novel. Frequently, but not always, dystopian novels are a sub-genre of science fiction. Some dystopian novels focus on the overtaking of society and a government by some dogmatic or totalitarian force with individuals left to battle for their freedom in hopes of the return of government as it once was. Equally frightening are dystopian tales in which society and civilization as we know it is brought to ruin by some cataclysmic event or events and the few surviving humans are left to try to survive and perhaps recreate some sort of way to reassemble and recreate a functional society and government. The Birds fits into this category. What is really most revealing about the re-issue of Baker's The Birds is the fact that most readers and movie goers have long assumed that Alfred Hitchcock's famous film, The Birds (1963), is based on the short story of the same title (1952) by Daphne du Mauier. Baker's story with its very similar themes and action clearly pre-dates the du Mauier tale. Baker sets his story in London whereas du Maurier's story (and Hitchcock's film) is set in a more idyllic English coastal town, and Baker's narrator is an almost eighty-five-year-old man reluctantly telling his daughter about life back in 1935 when the birds came whereas du Maurier's narrator speaks of then current events.
Ken Mogg who provides the Introduction to the Valancourt edition of The Birds comments that the novel "is both a finely crafted suspense thriller that could show even Alfred Hitchcock a few things, and an authentic account of pre-War London." Ironically, some of the depictions Baker provides of society "before the birds" could cynically still be applied to the world today. Many people suffer from "grief, unrest, ill-health, and pride;" others are "rarely interested" in their jobs;" nations fear other nations (still true today except terrorism is an even greater threat); and industry (read that as "corporations") are "in the hands of a few rich men." Also like today, the narrator states that "our people were discovered at their best and simplest, whenever any special occasion called them to unanimity."
Unlike Cormac McCarthy's The Road, for example, which batters readers with one dark post-apocalyptical image after another, Baker's narrator spends a lot of time telling his daughter about "the old world," nostalgically reflecting upon what life was like "before the birds." In so doing, he makes countless revelations about post-World War I London and about his own life. Along with the heat and the drought, the sights, smells, the every-day delights of mankind generally taken for granted are recounted with a loving desire. He discusses art, books and book stores, the theatre, cathedrals, and the commonplace ways of escaping "from reality" for so many that shows just how much humanity has suffered from the coming of the birds. The narrator also tells his daughter about sex. Curiously, especially for 1936, the author reflects some very liberated and tolerant attitudes toward homosexuality, or in the narrator's case, bisexuality. Baker's reflections on sex and love might seem almost startlingly out of place in an apocalyptic thriller but at the same time, elevate the novel to a more meaningful, human level than most novels of this sub-genre.
Like the birds in the du Maurier and Hitchcock versions, the birds in Baker's story have every appearance of being guided by some sort of intelligence or force as they marshal their forces and attacks upon humanity. Unlike the later versions, however, Baker's birds are not mere ordinary "sparrows, starlings, pigeons, and gulls" all of which seem to have fled and disappeared from the world's stage. Similarly, it isn't until the close of the du Mauier and Hitchcock versions that readers/viewers learn that bird attacks are world-wide, ending the works on an ominous note, whereas Baker's narrator reveals he and others were aware that bird attacks were world-wide, but Baker's narrator consciously restricts his recollections to what he experiences first-hand.
It is during the last third of The Birds that Baker's version of the war on mankind diverges the most from the du Maurier and Hitchcock versions. Although after a lull events reach a catastrophic climax, Baker introduces a metaphoric explanation for the birds that takes the book in a totally different direction from what readers expect to be a simple nature strikes back explanation. In so doing, Baker's conclusion again elevates his novel to a greater level from the norm of a mere thriller. [NOTE: The Valancourt edition of The Birds is based upon notes and revisions Baker made to a 1964 paperback release of his original 1936 text and, thus, this is the first release of what Baker may very well have considered the definitive edition of his novel.]
This literary novel begins with an elderly Father who decides to finally tell his daughter, Anna, of what life was like "before the birds came". The writing in THE BIRDS is simply beautiful--in parts, almost poetic in nature. Baker details society in London that is not all that different in theory from our modern day society. Many of the themes and attitudes remain the same, and I found it quite riveting to compare the similarities between human behavior in 1936, and the present time.
The narrator goes into great detail describing things such as the "aggressive nationalism" of Londoners, and the "absence of trust between individuals". In the midst of all this commentary, we learn of an unidentified species of bird that suddenly begins plaguing people of all nationalities. The lack of more "concrete" details--as the narrator can merely speculate as to the reason for this phenomenon--really intensifies the apprehension that the reader feels each time the winged-emmissaries appear.
Gradually the menace builds up, culminating in the mass extinguishing of human lives in different manners. The narrator describes his own "saving" and that of select others in a way that gives us much thought and introspection as to the arrival and intentions of the birds.
A fantastic, historical, literary, and unsettling novel that I highly recommend!
*I received an e-version of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*