A great, hilarious new voice in fiction: the poignant, all-too-human recollections of an affable bird researcher in backwater Indiana as he goes through a disastrous yet heartrening love affair with the place and its people.
Nathan Lochmueller studies birds for just enough money to live and learn on. He drives a glitter-festooned truck, the Gypsy Moth, and he is in love with Lola, a woman so free-spirited and mysterious she can break a man's heart with a sigh or a shrug. Around them swirls a remarkable cast of characters: the proprietor of Fast Eddie's Burgers, the genius behind "Thong Thursdays"; Uncle Dart, a Texan who brings his swagger to Indiana with profound and nearly devastating results; a snapping turtle with a taste for thumbs; a German Shepherd who howls backup vocals; and the very charismatic state of Indiana itself. And at the centre of it all: Nathan, creeping through the forest to observe the birds he loves, and coming to terms with the accidental turns his life has taken.
"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)
"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)
"[A] catchy, well-written debut novel.... [An] accomplished, ironic Midwest coming-of-age tale." (Publishers Weekly)
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