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Elsewhere in the Land of Parrots by Jim Paul
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Elsewhere in the Land of Parrots

by Jim Paul

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Here's a book I gave a second chance. I've lived in San Francisco and seen those parrots (cherry-headed conures) in the park. A novel featuring them really intrigued me. The book is about two individuals fascinated by the parrots: a graduate student struggling to locate wild parrots in the mangrove swamps of Ecuador for research, who unwittingly gets tangled up with some illegal wildlife trafficking, and a self-isolated eccentric poet in San Francisco who doesn't like the parrot his father gave him and ends up releasing it from his apartment window. Eventually feeling guilty at letting the parrot go, he explores the city to find dozens of parrots living on Telegraph Hill, reads up about them in the public library, and finally travels to South America in search of the wild flock they must have originated from. While this book got off to a slow start with me- I was at first put off by the frequent use of the past perfect tense, and felt distanced from the characters- I liked reading the details about the city-living parrots. I knew the two people would end up together- the researcher enthralled with parrots from the beginning and frustrated in her efforts to get close to them, and the reluctant poet gradually drawn out of his isolation by a desire to know more about them. Their two stories wove together in a surprising fashion to the final meeting point. The further I read the more I was drawn into this book, until by the end I had difficulty putting it down.

from the Dogear Diary ( )
  jeane | Feb 23, 2015 |
Read this one in one day. I didn't really know what to expect but these characters were adorable and it was an easy read. The story follows David, a poet living in San Francisco, and Fern, a graduate student studying birds in Ecuador. David recently won a grant for his poetry and is a bit of a recluse, only emerging from his house when absolutely necessary and wearing earplugs nearly all the time, to shut out all noise. Fern is adventurous and leaves her safe home and fiance in Tucson in order to follow her passion to South America. One day, David's father gives him a parrot, Pepito. The parrot proves to be too much for David, so he throws it out the window but soon regrets this decision and he follows it down the road. The story switches back and forth between Fern and David and I enjoyed it very much. ( )
  BrianaJae | Jul 7, 2010 |
A gentle story of parrots, romance, andserendipity. Side note: This book appeared on Nancy Pearl's recentlist of recommended summer reading. ( )
  debnance | Jan 29, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0156029723, Paperback)

Reclusive David Huntington writes rigorously meaningless poetry to great acclaim. But he lives fearfully, sleeping and working with earplugs, rarely going outside, drawing his life more closely around him every day. A wild parrot, a gift from his father, becomes the breach in the dike: Little Wittgenstein has a jungle shriek, fierce eyes, and a beak that wreaks havoc. David finally throws the bird out the window-and follows it into the world. His guilty search for the parrot takes him first to Telegraph Hill, where the parrot may have found others of its kind. Then David is lured to South America by rumors of an ancient flock in the mangrove swamps. There he meets the lovely levelheaded Fern, an American scientist who has her own reasons for searching for the birds. Will he retreat or follow the parrots' call?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:12 -0400)

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