The Spectator Bird

Written by:
Wallace Stegner
Narrated by:
Edward Herrmann

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
September 2009
7 hours 52 minutes
Joe Allston is a retired literary agent who is, in his own words, 'killing time before 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 him to return to the journals of a trip he had taken with his wife twenty 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, read aloud to his wife so she too can reminisce, move through layers of time and meaning and reveal that Joe Allston isn't quite spectator enough.

This portrait of a husband and wife's marriage and a son's pursuit of his mother's memory is a literary masterpiece.
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I loved this genuine story of evolving lives.

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Another delightful book from Wallace Stegner. Even though I have ones I favor more than this one (Angle of Repose, The Big Rock Candy Mountain, All the Little Live Things). Stegner is capturing getting old in a way that I do not believe that anyone else succeeds, with the fear, but also with the intimacy of couples that are married for long long years, with regrets and memories, with friends that are going away (passing away, or losing their health, or just far away). Joe is more funny yet grumpy in All the Little Live Things, but we have the chance to get to know him better reading both books about him and Ruth his wife. So as usual, it's a Stegner's, which is pretty self-explanatory and promises joy from beautiful prose.

The Spectator Bird
This title is due for release on September 9, 2009.

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