Fall of the Birds (Kindle Single) Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
The stepfather was a claims adjustor for an insurance company and this day he was called out to a situation at a nursery where circumstances were "weird" according to his boss. When he arrived, he saw that what had happened was nowhere near normal, that there were dead red-winged blackbirds everywhere on the ground, and even crashed through the roof of the nursery's greenhouse. It was as if they had stopped in mid-air, died and had fallen to the ground. The adjustor happened to think that on his trip to the nursery, he hadn't seen a single bird at all. He remembered that there had been several cases of flocks of birds dying like this in Texas, and there were several theories why that happened, but none was ever settled on as a cause.
This Kindle Single by Bradford Morrow is a lovely piece of writing that centers not only around birds, but around love, death and hope. Caitlan and her stepfather take an extended trip where they see even more flocks of birds that have died, but things look up for Caitlan as her birthday approaches and as she and her stepfather become closer in a father-daughter relationship. They begin to rise out of the depths of their mourning and some beautiful signs of hope begin to appear.
As the narrator, who is the stepfather, travels back and forth to his claims inspections he listens to audiobooks, and the one we are privileged to hear about is Thomas Hardy's "The Woodlanders". This adds to the nature theme and to the knowledge of birds that this family loves so much, and he expands on Hardy's writing skills a bit.
I really loved "Fall of the Birds". Bradford Morrow is obviously a birder himself and knows what he's talking about with the information in this single. Birding books are mentioned and although I do feed the birds and watch them, it made me think about watching them closer as well as those around me because life is fragile and fleeting and we should enjoy every minute while we can.
So where are they? What about the bird feeder? It hasn't had any visitors for weeks? And where's the morning birdcall, the normal "chip and chant, twitter and gurgle, slur and rasp" that greets the sunrise?
In "The Fall of the Birds," as in any good yarn the suspense builds incrementally, uncertainty then unease gradually give way to menace and dread that becomes the fear that things are going to get really bad.
The narrator of "Fall of the Birds," is a insurance company claims adjuster. Caitlan is his stepdaughter. They're both grieving the recent death of Caitlan's mother. Both stepfather and stepdaughter are birders, knowledgeable about the birds around them and keen observers of avian habits and habitats.
When for no explainable reason birds begin dropping from the sky like gilded stones and when vagrant species of birds not normally seen anywhere near the Northeast begin congregating outside the window, the world seems to have titled on its axis and the alarm becomes palpable.
We're reminded that canaries went down into the mines for good reason and ultimately we're asked to consider if what's happening to the birds is a harbinger for humans. It's something unbalancing, a cause for unease.
Morrow's style to some may seem fussy. His vocabulary often relies on words such as palaver, vicissitudes and macadam. In his Amazon review (above) Jason Kirk says Morrow's language is "gravid yet light." The story is written in the first person. It's a good choice for a voice that's eloquent, descriptive.
A theme is the resilience of the human spirit. The birds are dying and a father and daughter are grieving over the death of their wife and mother. The future is uncertain. It's just at that point that "an incandescent ball of light" appears dancing about in the bushes. When's the last time, if ever, you've seen an indigo bunting?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The story itself is incredibly touching, I...Read more