4/15/2012 6:00:00 AM Author explores world where birds speak to humans
Clark Isaacs KDM contributor
The Lord God Bird, by Tom Gallant; 978-159372-047-6; Hardcover; 224 Pages; $24.95; Published April 2012; Published by The Quantuck Lane Press
Excellent prose comes from writers who take the time to explore deeply moving topics and take them to great heights.
Tom Gallant does just that in his novel, "The Lord God Bird." Gallant brings his character, "the man," to life, who inspires a throwback to a time once thought to be extinct, just like the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker that soars as a beacon, gliding to new life and sharing equality with "the man."
A strange facet of this novel is the "man" has no name and the same holds true for his father and grandfather. While all the other characters have names, "the man" imparts a very tranquil spirit throughout the entire story.
Here is a novel written in the style of Hemingway or Steinbeck in their early years. Gallant has a methodology of writing, which many aspire to have, but few attain. Using few words to say what he feels, "the man," is able to convey tenderness, alertness and all-encompassing passion, which is definitely masculine. His love to share with those around him leads to a couple of relationships that help him step away from grief that he had been experiencing during the past 10 years after his wife died. Recovery for him was learning to live again in the moment.
One of the outstanding features of this book is Gallant's ability to bring "The Lord God Bird," to life through the bird speaking to its mate and other animals. Similar to what author Lewis Carroll did in "Through the Looking Glass," where Alice communicates with animals; Gallant creates an experience equally as well. Readers will explore their own imaginations without raising the least bit of concern when hearing a bird speak to them.
Another outstanding aspect of the book is its showing of the parallel between the animal kingdom and humans as they share the planet. Each has their own place, but they desire peace on their own, which takes precedence over mingling with the others' lives.
The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker is a bird thought to be extinct until there was a sighting in 2004 in Arkansas. That and descriptive references to "The Lord God Bird" were the impetus for Gallant to write this book with this specific title. There have not been any other sightings since that time and a bounty of $50,000 is still available for the confirmation of a sighting. Gallant's book is one of strictly fiction.
Living in a rural setting and still being worldly is what this novel demonstrates. Raising children, animals, being self-sufficient and respecting nature are some of the integral parts of this story. Interpersonal relationships thrive and respect for nature abounds as "the man" learns to live again.
This is a 5-star book that is highly recommended. You should seriously consider placing "The Lord God Bird" on your bookshelf, and handing it down to your kin from time to time so they can get in touch with great writing.
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Clark Isaacs is an accomplished book critic who published in local newspapers and national book review lists. He is a member of the faculty of Mohave Community College in Kingman. Visit Clark Isaacs at http://clarkisaacs.ning.com.