Saturday 21 August 2010

Airplane Reading

Finished August 20
Fauna by Alissa York
In this novel we see things from a variety of points of view. The characters lives intersect and their different views give us a bigger picture of things.
Edal Jones is a federal wildlife officer who is on stress leave. She often gets called in on animal smuggling cases at the airport and through the book we see some of those. She is also coming from an unhappy childhood, and is one of two characters whose story we see from that earlier time period as well as from the present.
When she is out on her bike one day she sees a girl taking birds who have flown into office towers and wonders about what she is doing with them and follows her.
The girl, Lily, goes to an autowrecker's yard near a ravine, a yard that has become a sanctuary for both animals and humans. Lily is living out on her own with her dog, Billy. She is also escaping something.
The owner of the autowrecker's yard is Guy Howell. The yard is something he inherited and he has a talent for seeing vulnerability in living things and understanding what to do. Guy is working with an injured redtail hawk to rehabilitate it. Guy has one employee, Stephen, whose heart was weakened by an infection he got on a tour of duty in Afghanistan. Stephen is apprenticing there and doing the books and learning about animals. Stephen also has a history he isn't entirely comfortable with.
Lily encounters a young vet tech, Kate, when she is out on day, and Kate comes into the yard and finds a sort of place there. Kate is happy at her work, and yet still getting over a tragedy in her young life and finds herself drawn to the young Lily.
A separate menacing presence enters the ravine and touches on the lives of these people, a young man with issues and anger and who is looking to make his own mark. Stephen encounters him first and tries to make a difference in his attitude, but the others encounter him in some way as well. This young man is the other character that we see the full backstory of, and it isn't a happy one. He has experienced loss and abuse and struggles with himself.
I really liked this book and the insights and growth of the characters.
These are all people who have experienced loss. The losses and experiences differ, as do the way the characters deal with what they face. This is an emotional book, not meaning that it made me cry, but that the characters were so vulnerable and looking for ways to respond to those living things they encounter.

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