The Spectator Bird free read ä 106

read & download The Spectator Bird

The Spectator Bird free read ä 106 ☆ This tour de force of American literature and a winner of the National Book Award is a profound intimate affecting novel from one of the most esteemed literary minds of the last century and a beloved chronicler of the West Joe Allston is a cantankerous retired literary agent who is in his own words just killiThis tour de force of American literature and a winner of the National Book Award is a profound intimate affecting novel from one of the most esteemed literary minds of the last century and a beloved chronicler of the West Joe Allston is a cantankerous retired literary agent who is in his own words just killing time until time gets around to killing me. Ever notice how on rare occasions certain writers really stand out for their ability to capture the subtle and complex ways of folks It’s usually a reason to celebrate since these insights are there for us to imbibe But it may be a source of distress if what’s revealed is a difficult truth For me Wallace Stegner is that sort of author and this book is one I celebra hate Actually hate is too strong a word even when it’s combined with a good thing I should say I felt twinges of disappointment when recognizably human elements in the main character’s make up prevented a greater happiness Don’t get me wrong I’m not looking for slants a la Hallmark I just feel sad about opportunities missed especially when those doing the missing are characters whose innermost thoughts I’ve been absorbing with interest I’ve told you about the malaise I might as well mention a big reason for it as long as I’m careful not to reveal than the back cover does Joe Allston a crusty 69 year old former literary agent and his kindhearted wife Ruth live a rather isolated life in northern California They had lost their son tragically in surf boarding accident 20 some years prior To make matters worse Joe felt there had been unresolved father son issues when it happenedThe story begins as a postcard arrives from an old friend from a trip Joe and Ruth had taken to Denmark The extended stay there was in part meant as therapy to take their minds off their then fresh and constant grief It also allowed Joe to explore the small town where his mother had lived before shipping off to the states and having him As chance would have it they stayed with a Danish countess whose diminished circumstances reuired her to take in boarders Astrid the countess was the one who sent the postcard This sparked memories of the trip that Joe pursued even by breaking out a journal he kept at the time Ruth asked that he read it aloud so that she too could take the trip back in timeThe first entries in the journal were set on the boat ride over They had met an older couple which prompted Joe to write descriptively about their ilk and about censorious people in generalThey sit in lace curtained parlors and tsk tsk on an indrawn breath they know every unwanted pregnancy in town sooner than the girl does they want English teachers in Augustana College fired for assigning A Farewell to Arms they wrote the Volstead Act Once they arrived the focus of the journal shifts to the countess They learn that despite her elegance and good breeding she was getting the cold shoulder from society types Her estranged husband unbeknownst to her when they’d been together had been a Nazi sympathizer Later into their stay they learn something else that explains the perceptions of her peers but it would be a spoiler to say any I will say that you may or may not buy into this revelation I decided that for me it was just a side issue and that the far important part of the book was Joe’s exploration of selfThis self under the scope was very thoroughly studied Joe’s observational skills as a “spectator” passively taking things in were keen enough to recognize himself as a spectator passively taking things in This uote was tellingI was reminded of a remark of Willa Cather's that you can't paint sunlight you can only paint what it does with shadows on a wall If you examine a life as Socrates has been so tediously advising us to do for so many centuries do you really examine the life or do you examine the shadows it casts on other lives Entity or relationships Objective reality or the vanishing point of a multiple perspective exercise Prism or the rainbows it refracts And what if you're the wall What if you never cast a shadow or rainbow of your own but have only caught those cast by othersRelatedly Joe seemed to regret his apparent detachmentThat is the way the modern temper would read me Babbitt the man who in all his life never did one thing he really wanted to One of those Blake was scornful of who controlled their passions because their passions are feeble enough to be controlled One of those Genteel Tradition characters whose whole pale ethos is subsumed in an act of renunciationBut might there have been times thinking of what the journal hinted at but omitted when passions were less tepid And might actions or inactions in the face of these be even defining in his life See I know the answers to these uestions and the only way you will is to read this masterful book While I don’t rate this one uite as high as Angle of Repose or Crossing to Safety that’s a standard few if any can surpass Stegner was just about Joe’s age when he wrote it and advancing years were a theme As sour as old Vin de Joe had become I’d have preferred a cheerier example to live by Beyond that lines like this are beginning to hit home I felt an uneasy adolescent peeking from behind my old age make up as if I were a sixteen year old playing Uncle Vanya in the high school play Hey but at least I wouldn’t call my face a “spiderweb with eyes” Not yet anyway uibbles aside here’s the bottom line Wallace Stegner is the real deal With him it’s insight and great writing on every page I hope you all do yourselves the favor of his wisdom and art

Wallace Stegner Ò 6 read

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 has not been his choice He has passed through life as a spectator before retreating to the woods of California in the 1970s with only his wife Ruth by his side When an unexpected postcard from a long. An observant soul that spectator bird Joe Allston is a literary agent perhaps polishing brighter stars If he was in Denmark one or poets might call him “an attendant lord” So it is not just chance that takes Allston in fact to Denmark Well it’s a postcard actually a postcard that arrives now that Allston is retired The postcard is from a countess he once knew in Denmark and it gets him to rummage through his boxed memories for a journal he kept of those days His wife Ruth who was there in Demark with him shared Denmark with him wants him to read his journal to her; just a bit every night The reader immediately feels Allston’s discomfortA bit awkward that literary device but it gets us from the Allston’s home in California to that time in Denmark twenty years before So there’s plots there secrets to unfold; but frankly some of plot is kind of strained as if Stegner felt an obligation to his readers to provide a running story A necessary evil maybe but one that allows that spectator bird to well spectateStegner says it’s like what Willa Cather once said that you can’t paint sunlight you can only paint what it does with shadows on a wall But Allston muses what if you’re the wall What if you never cast a shadow or rainbow of your own but have only caught those cast by others There is much self reflection here that will appear familiar to those entering their twilight years He says that when he is asked if he feels like an old man he replies that he does not he feels like a young man with something the matter with himAllston considers each body part as it hurts or is otherwise compromised including with some self deprecation and thankfully no specificity That too Hail and Farewell But it is the diffused pain that he suspects is rheumatoid arthritis that sends him to the Britannica this being a time before the internet – because he says the unexamined disease is not worth having And I liked this about Joe Allston The encyclopedia did not mention bourbon as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis either because the learned man who wrote the article did not deal in the obvious or because he wasn’t that learned after allThe contrived plot was not without its benefits In particular there is a meeting and lovely dialogue with Karen Blixen All Danes accounted forBut at its heart this is a story about an old married couple and how they survive things How they share At one point they are having a conversation about another couple the husband dying And Joe Allston who only appears heartless starts ”Well we don’t have to for a while”“No We’re lucky we really are”“I always thought I was”“See” she said “You really can be nice”“Given provocation”

review Û PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB Ò Wallace Stegner

The Spectator BirdLost friend arrives Allston returns to the journals of a trip he has taken years before a journey to his mother's birthplace where he once sought a link with his past Uncovering this history floods Allston with memories both grotesue and poignant and finally vindicates him of his past and lays bare that Joe Allston has never been uite spectator enough. I enjoyed every minute I spent with this book Every line spoke to me The lines had me alternately thinking or smilingI share a lot with the central character of the novel I believe this is why I relate to the book as much as I do The book is about Joe Allston actually not just about him but about his wife Ruth too about the couple as a pair about their relationship and their respective attitudes The year is 1974 He is sixty nine years old and very much aware of the fact that he is approaching old age Health concerns trouble him He is retired Husband and wife have settled down in a rural community in California offering the peace of countryside living and only an hour’s distance from the intellectual community at Stanford They have lived in NYC and have traveled extensively Literature is an integral part of who they are Joe’s mother was of Danish descent The story flips back and forth between the present1974 and the past 1954 In 1954 Joe and Ruth traveled to Denmark for several months; ostensibly Joe was recuperating from myocarditis an inflammation of the heart muscle Beside this their son had died in a surfing accident Now in the present Joe is reading to Ruth the journals he wrote on that trip and they are talking finally talking about what they have not been able to speak of beforeThe book is about one’s thoughts as one nears seventy It is about family relationships and guilt and misgivings and about accepting that how you feel you ought to be is perhaps not how you can be There is a lot here about daring to voice one’s innermost thoughts The book is about connection to others Look at the title Are you a “spectator bird” observing others at a distance or are you one who lets others come closeBefore retirement Joe had been a literary agent making it natural that authors and books are intermingled in the telling of the story but not in the sense of name dropping Instead characters and events in well known books are used as reference points; if you have read the book you know the kind pf person Joe or Ruth are speaking of understand their train of thought and catch the underlying humor Nothing is explained; readers must themselves figure out what is inferred If you have read the book you will understand If you haven’t you won’tCultural differences particularly the Scandinavian lifestyle in comparison to the American is amusingly and insightfully drawn The details are perfect—from the lack of adeuate illumination in European hotels to the experience of traveling on a boat in a violent storm to the behavior of a Siamese cat to the tone of a Danish dinner party compared to its American counterpart to how a husband and wife married for many years communicate both verbally and non verbally I very much like how the story ends I like the choice Joe made in the fifties I like seeing where he is today having made that choice twenty years earlier The book does not go off on tangents In tone it is low key It has historical underpinnings of both the 1950s and the 1970s that is to say the years after the Second World War and the Hippie 70s Edward Herrmann’s narration of the audiobook is fantastic There is not a uestion of my rating his performance with anything but five stars He knows when to pause He never over dramatizes He captures exactly how this couple would have spoken to each other The speed is perfect and every word is easily heardThis is a really good book and the audiobook is extremely well read I do think it will appeal to some readers than others The words underlined in the second paragraph indicate what kind of person the book will appeal to most