Saturday 4 May 2019

A Catalog of Birds

Finished April 7
A Catalog of Birds by Laura Harrington

This novel takes place in 1970 with the main characters Billy Flynn and his younger sister Nell. Billy has an amazing affinity for birds. From a young age he watched them, drew them, and knew their sounds. He always wanted to fly, and when the war in Vietnam started, he signed up. He flew helicopters in the war, but has now returned home, damaged and hurting. His hearing has been affected, and his right arm, meaning that he can no longer draw like he did.
Billy's parents are supportive, and so is Nell. Nell's best friend was Billy's girlfriend, but she has suddenly gone missing, and no one seems to know where she is, or whether she left of her own accord. Billy's best friend Harlow also did his time in the war, and came back changed. He tried college, but now works as a mechanic at a local service station.
Billy and Nell both have their own secrets, and they hold them close. Billy has nightmares about his, and their father Jack tries to talk to him about it, citing his own period of nightmares following his stint in World War II. Billy and Nell's other siblings aren't as close, but they still play roles here.
This is a story of a bond between siblings, but also a story of coming of age, of the terrible effects of war, and of loss.  A beautiful read.

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