The Spectator Bird (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
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From the dean of Western writers (The New York Times) and the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Angle of Repose and Crossing to Safety, his National Book Award winning novel
Joe Allston is a retired literary agent who is, in his own words, "just killing time until time gets around to killing me." His parents and his only son are long dead, leaving him with neither ancestors nor descendants, tradition nor ties. His job, trafficking the talent of others, had not been his choice. He passes through life as a spectator.
A postcard from a friend causes Allston to return to the journals of a trip he had taken years before, a journey to his mother's birthplace where he'd sought a link with the past. The memories of that trip, both grotesque and poignant, move through layers of time and meaning, and reveal that Joe Allston isn't quite spectator enough.
About the Author
Wallace Stegner (1909 1993) published more than two dozen books throughout his life, including the novels Angle of Repose, which won the Pulitzer Prize; Crossing to Safety; and The Big Rock Candy Mountain. An early environmentalist, Stegner was instrumental with his now famous Wilderness Letter in the passage of the 1964 Wilderness Act. Jane Smiley is the Pulitzer Prize winning author of more than ten novels and four works of nonfiction. She lives in California. "
"It is the autobiographical nature of Stegner's work . . . that makes it so compelling. In every novel, the narrator has all the gifts of language, empathy, and philosophy, but he nonetheless can never free himself from the torments of the past."
-Jane Smiley, from the Introduction
"Elegant and entertaining . . . every scene [is] adroitly staged and each effect precisely accomplished."