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The Spirit Bird


This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


Winner of the 2014 Drue Heinz Literature Prize

The flight path of The Spirit Bird traces many landscapes and different transitory lives. A young man scratches out a living from the desert; a woman follows a rarely seen bird in the far reaches of Alaska; a poor single mother sorts out her life in a fancy mountain town. Other protagonists yearn to cross a racial divide, keep developers from a local island, explore their sexuality, and mourn a lost loved one. The characters in this collection are compelled to seek beyond their own horizons, and as the stories unfold, the search becomes the expression of their desires. The elusive spirit bird is a metaphor for what we’ve lost, for what we hope for, and for what we don’t know about ourselves.

From Publishers Weekly

Sep 01, 2014 – Nelson's (Language in the Blood) story collection explores a number of lives and loves across a variety of geographies. Each story, whether about the man running his own movie business in the desert ("Alba"), the man who transforms from his normal self into a donkey in the blink of an eye ("Who Is Danny Pendergast?"), the woman struggling to deal with her unstable father ("My Crazy Father"), or the man exploring the further reaches of his sexuality ("The Path of the Left Hand"), touches on the complexities and intricacies of personal relationships. As the title indicates, birds play a reoccurring role in the book, and many of the characters are enthusiastic birders. An obvious yet still successful parallel is drawn between the lives and relationships Nelson depicts and the birds that flutter through the pages. One character asks questions like, "What was to be gained by counting species?" Nelson's stories show how humans become unsettled; how our spirits, hopes, and aspirations are always in a state of flux. Each plot turns on unexpected developments, which challenge our perceptions of reality. Together, the stories act as a powerful chorus that speaks to the reader about love and loss, and overcoming obstacles.

Customer Reviews

Beautiful book

Great book! Every story in the book is clear and very intriguing! Better than I thought it to be. Would highly recommend

The Spirit Bird
View in iTunes
  • $12.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Fiction & Literature
  • Published: Oct 25, 2014
  • Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
  • Seller: University of Pittsburgh Press
  • Print Length: 272 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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