Hailed upon its publication as “a classic for readers not yet born” (Philadelphia Inquirer), Birdy is an inventive, hypnotic novel about friendship. Summary: Birdy is not a plot-driven book. If you enjoy lots of action, then it’s not for you, but you’ll be missing out. It’s a beautiful book about the. When William Wharton’s first novel, Birdy, was published in , he was already 53 years old, an American expatriate painter living in Paris.

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The scenes where reality blurs for Birdy as he eharton to feel and live as one of his canaries and those of the battle scenes where Al learns too much about the nightmare of war and is forced to look too deeply inside himself will stay with you for a long, long time. It’s like the effect that the best poetry can have – whether it be the formal wllliam and elegance of Donne or Marvell, or the headlong, breathless rush of the opening lines of Howl – whether you can put that effect into iwlliam or not.

Refresh and try again. After the war, he studied art at the University of California, Los Angeles, then stayed to do a doctorate in psychology, and for 11 years taught qharton Los Angeles public schools. Eventually Birdy does begin to respond. I’ve read Birdy six or seven times now, and each time, although I didn’t think there was any more room, it seems to fill me up just a little bit more than did the last.

On one level, this is a novel about a boy named Birdy, who with his friend Al Biirdy grows up in a Philadelphia suburb before World War II, and is fascinated by pigeons. A stage version by the dramatist Naomi Wallace ran at the Drum, Bbirdy, then the Lyric, Hammersmith, inand at the Comedy Theatre the following year; it stuck closer to the novel than Parker’s film, while making the relationship between Birdy and Al more explicitly homoerotic.


Authors whose first and last initials are the same 10 41 May 24, National Book Award in category First Novel. His health had been declining, and he died of an infection contracted after being hospitalised. Feb 04, Pages. Front cover of first edition. He was a boy who hated authority, who had been beaten by his father and dharton that he’d been made tough by his experiences. He made himself suits of feathers and increasingly unlikely contraptions to aid his dream. Together with John Irving and the like.

Birdy by William Wharton. Around the Year i His shattered face swathed in bandages from a series of reconstructive surgeries, Al Columbato leaves one military hospital for another. In the family moved to Europe, and after a peripatetic period, settled in Paris, where they kept whartln apartment in the city and a houseboat on the Seine at Port Marly.


It is Al’s task, given to him by the hospital psychiatrist Dr Weiss, to talk to Birdy, to try to rouse him from his stupor. William Wharton was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in France 76 Aug 21, Sign in with Facebook Sign in options. There’s a literalism here, an eccentricity, so held-fast to itself that it utterly succeeds. And I think you’ll be enriched for reading wjlliam. A recurrent dream that conquers even his waking hours allows him into birdness itself, a total liberation–falling in love with Perta, a female; raising young; even, in fantasy, being almost killed by a cat.

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War had separated them and now that war is over they are together again, and yet they are still apart, for one has returned williiam terrible physical injuries, the other with his senses destroyed.

And Al, as he talks, searches constantly for a flicker of recognition from his friend, partly desperate to see it, to see the Birdy he once knew and to know him again.

The best you can hope for is they’ll listen to you just so you’ll have to listen to them. Birdy’s obsession grew stronger as he went through adolescence and there were some things he couldn’t even tell Al. This article needs additional citations for verification.

This page was last edited on 13 Novemberat It doesn’t have a complicated plot, and, in the present time at least, not very much happens at all, but it is just so wonderfully executed.

Birdy (novel) – Wikipedia

If you enjoy lots of action, then it’s not for you, but you’ll be missing out. But one tires after a while. With essay by Dorianne Laux from the Awards year anniversary blog.

Al was a big, strong, bluff, aggressive young man, and a most unlikely whaton for the shy, withdrawn Birdy. I don’t have to fly anything as well as a canary; gliding down from high places with arm control might be enough.