Snapper by Brian Kimberling

Library Copy

Hello my lovely friends. I greet you from the dispatches of my sick-bed. Nothing serious, just allergies or a head cold or something like that. Regardless, it's been enough to knock me off my feet for a while. And that usually means buying more time alone in bed with a book, trying to work through a NyQuil educed haze (when I'm not slipping in and out of sleep). What is it about NyQuil that makes the side-effects barely worth the benefits?
If anyone understands this every-man's plight, it's Brian Kimberling's hero Nathan. Nathan isn't an unintelligent man, but he kind of bumbles along in life. Nathan is a "bird-watcher" - he gathers data about the local wild song birds in what is essentially field work for the Government and local Ornithologists in Indiana. But when he isn't working, he bewilderingly gets into some hapless messes. There's a sense that he isn't as innocent as he tries to put himself out as, but there's no proof to support that. From his buddies that certainly are not innocents, to the lovely Lola, a free-spirited woman Nathan is obsessed with. Indiana is as much a character as any of the humans, as well. I'd never given much thought to the Hoosier state until this book made it seem familiar and homey.

While reading this in a cafe, one of my baristas claimed that (based on the cover) it didn't look very interesting. I guess it might not, but it is charming and hilarious, and I tried to tell him as much. Though it's categorized as a novel, each chapter reads a little more like individual short stories, so there's no strung together, cohesive plot. Just familiar characters popping in and out at various points in the time-line. (Remember when I said I was a mite NyQuil-stoned when I read this?)

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