Russell Hill

The Lord God Bird

$15.00

Fiction. THE LORD GOD BIRD is a startling novella filled with dark images of America in the South in 1949. Jake Hamrick, a 19-year-old who has been obsessed since childhood with the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, a bird that is on the verge of extinction, leaves Illinois for Louisiana to find the creature, accompanied by Robin, his tiny girlfriend. It is a cinematic novella of obsession, passion, violence, love and loss that you won’t forget.

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Description

The Lord God Bird is a startling novel filled with dark images of America in the South in 1949. Jake Hamrick, a 19-year-old who has been obsessed since childhood with the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, a bird that is on the verge of extinction, leaves Illinois for Louisiana to find the creature, accompanied by Robin, his tiny girlfriend. They search in the bayous where the bird was last reported, and Robin, as obsessed as Jake, dresses like the bird, smearing her naked body with white clay, wearing a cloak of black crow feathers, her hair in a red crest. She is discovered by local hunters and Robin and Jake are pursued deep into the bayous, where they are harbored by Robert, an ancient black man. It is a cinematic novella of obsession, passion, violence, love and loss that you won’t forget.

 

Russell Hill is a three-time nominee for the Edgar Allen Poe prize. His books, Lucy Boomer and The Lord God Bird have been optioned for film, and his work has been translated into French, German and Polish. He lives in the San Francisco Bay area, is married, and has three grown children. He is an avid fly fisher and his book, The Search for Sheepheaven Trout has become a “cult classic” among fly fishers.

You can visit his writing at russellhillwriter.wordpress.com

Other books by Russell Hill:

Letters from the Mines (poetry)

The Search for Sheepheaven Trout (essays)

The Heeler (short stories)

Novels:

The Edge of the Earth (originally titled Cold Creek Cash Store)

Lucy Boomer

The Dog Sox

Deadly Negatives

Tom Hall and the Captain of All These Men of Death

The Egret

Additional information

Weight 9.6 oz
Dimensions 5.2 × 0.2 × 8.2 in
Format

Paperback

Author

Russell Hill

ISBN

978-1-929355-53-2

Amazon

http://a.co/cbQO8OX

Original Language

English

Publish Date

6/1/2009

Page/Word Count

197 pages

Praise

1934). I would call THE LORD GOD BIRD a neat update of DELIVERANCE (James Dickey novel 1970, a literary press, and fear. But his language is, and one horrible murder in this story. It's a far cry from the traditional mysteries of Agatha Christie, and they decide to leave town together. Quote: We re going to find the ivory billed woodpecker, anticipation, Burt Reynolds movie 1972). I would also call it a neat update of GREEN MANSIONS, but in craft. Deceptively easy-to-read, but the pages flip with increasing speed as the story moves from Jake Hamrick's growing boyhood passion for birds to an irreversible moment of instinctive, but the writing is beautiful, but they added to my reading experience nonetheless. All of this built-in, but this evocatively told story is a suspense, deemed worthy or worthless. Yet the choice of this particular setting alters the story. Because most of us bring to our reading preconceived notions of the South in this time period, drawing curiosity, dread, equally poetic, his bird books captivate her, I said, I sat for a very long time, in turn, intimate detail. As a study in show-don t-tell, it excels. Hill's trust in the reader is richly rewarding. His triggers do their magic, it is impossible not to anticipate what might be coming. Some of my worst fears did not, it was called the Lord God Bird because people tended to exclaim Lord God! if they saw one. Jake, just south of the Texas state line, last seen in 1944 in the deep woods of Arkansas, Louisiana, Louisiana and Texas. Spectacular, materialize, nearly extinct, not a mystery. The reader is never in doubt as to what happened and whodunit, Pleasure Boat Studio, profanity, published by Hard Case Crime. Booklist called it a neat update of THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE (James M. Cain s novel, reader-contributed back story allowed Hill to focus on Jake and his birdlike girlfriend Robin as they pursue the elusive Ivory-billed Woodpecker, revered, savoring the pensive mood Hill's poetic narrative evoked. The mystery in this book lies not in plot, settle in and start their search. In a fit of fantasy, shock, so while the story is suspenseful it is also beautifully haunting. Set mostly in Louisiana in 1949, thankfully, the 1916 classic –Pat Browning for Dorothy-L, the narrator, the standard elements of prejudice and poverty are essential to the plot but not the theme. This book could have been set any place where the value of life is judged and rated, though the ending is bitter. Hill was an Edgar finalist in 2008 for ROBBIE'S WIFE, violent reaction. Hill's prose is clean and sparse, will publish THE LORD GOD BIRD under its Caravel Mystery imprint, yet rich in vivid

Imprint

Caravel

3 reviews for The Lord God Bird

  1. Pat Browning for Dorothy-L

    Pleasure Boat Studio, a literary press, will publish THE LORD GOD BIRD under its Caravel Mystery imprint, but this evocatively told story is a suspense, not a mystery. The reader is never in doubt as to what happened and whodunit, but the pages flip with increasing speed as the story moves from Jake Hamrick’s growing boyhood passion for birds to an irreversible moment of instinctive, violent reaction. Hill’s prose is clean and sparse, yet rich in vivid, intimate detail. As a study in show-don’t-tell, it excels. Hill’s trust in the reader is richly rewarding. His triggers do their magic, drawing curiosity, anticipation, dread, shock, and fear. But his language is, in turn, equally poetic, so while the story is suspenseful it is also beautifully haunting. Set mostly in Louisiana in 1949, the standard elements of prejudice and poverty are essential to the plot but not the theme. This book could have been set any place where the value of life is judged and rated, deemed worthy or worthless. Yet the choice of this particular setting alters the story. Because most of us bring to our reading preconceived notions of the South in this time period, it is impossible not to anticipate what might be coming. Some of my worst fears did not, thankfully, materialize, but they added to my reading experience nonetheless. All of this built-in, reader-contributed back story allowed Hill to focus on Jake and his birdlike girlfriend Robin as they pursue the elusive Ivory-billed Woodpecker, building to the moment when a single reaction changes their lives forever. That theme of irrevocable change is powerful. The repercussions keep the reader flipping the pages and on the edge. When I reached the final pages of the penultimate chapter of THE LORD GOD BIRD, I sat for a very long time, savoring the pensive mood Hill’s poetic narrative evoked. The mystery in this book lies not in plot, but in craft. Deceptively easy-to-read, Hill’s writing delivers far more than what’s on the page. –Bernadette Pajer for Dorothy-L

    This novella just knocked my socks off. I read the ARC in one sitting…. The important bird in this story of obsession is the ivory-billed woodpecker, nearly extinct, last seen in 1944 in the deep woods of Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. Spectacular, revered, it was called the Lord God Bird because people tended to exclaim Lord God! if they saw one. Jake, the narrator, is a bird lover at an early age. A picture of an ivory-billed woodpecker intrigues him and by his late teens he can think of nothing else but heading south to look for that elusive bird. He meets Robin in a five-and-dime store. A friendship develops, his bird books captivate her, and they decide to leave town together. Quote: We re going to find the ivory billed woodpecker, I said, and we’re going to tell the world what we saw and they’re going to let up a f***ing cheer like you never heard. You and me are going to be famous. End quote. They head for the deep woods and swamps of Union Parish, Louisiana, just south of the Texas state line, settle in and start their search. In a fit of fantasy, Robin makes a costume of bird feathers and climbs a cypress tree to call the bird. Jake stands down below knocking two pieces of wood together to simulate a reply…. Note to the squeamish: There is erotic sex, profanity, and one horrible murder in this story. It’s a far cry from the traditional mysteries of Agatha Christie, but the writing is beautiful, though the ending is bitter. Hill was an Edgar finalist in 2008 for ROBBIE’S WIFE, published by Hard Case Crime. Booklist called it a neat update of THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE (James M. Cain s novel, 1934). I would call THE LORD GOD BIRD a neat update of DELIVERANCE (James Dickey novel 1970, Burt Reynolds movie 1972). I would also call it a neat update of GREEN MANSIONS, the 1916 classic.

  2. Booklist (06/01/2009)

    Lord God, what a bird! people exclaimed at the sight of an ivory-billed woodpecker. The magnificent Lord God Bird flourished in the swampy forests of the South until the tall trees were cut down. Last spotted in 1944, it was believed extinct until a headline-grabbing encounter in 2004. Hill follows his Edgar-finalist Robbies Wife (2007), with a brilliantly imagined, hair-raising tale about the spell cast by this fabled creature, reaching back to 1944 when Jake, a bird-struck 19-year-old from the Chicago area, heads south to search for the ivory-billed woodpecker with Robin, his tough little girlfriend. Their immersion in the primeval wilderness is, by turns, ludicrous, erotic, and mythic as Robin arrays herself with clay and feathers to achieve a fate-tempting metamorphosis. Once this odd bird attracts the attention of redneck hunters, the lovers become fugitives, finding sanctuary with a black man deeply attuned to the forces of the bayou. Hill himself exhibits extraordinary powers in this blazing improvisation on the story of Eden. A breathtaking drama of natures mercurial glory and human kinds grim folly.

  3. Janet Rudolph

    It’s rare that I finish reading a book in one sitting, and it’s even rarer that I need a few weeks before I can write about it.

    A few weeks ago I met Russell Hill, the author of The Lord God Bird. Some things are serendipitous, and my meeting Russell Hill was one of those things. At the urging of his publisher Jack Estes of Pleasure Boat Studio, he attended one of our literary salons for another author. We got to chatting, and I decided to read his book that very evening. I became so caught up in the book that I couldn’t put it down. It’s not a long book, even so I was savoring every word.

    The Lord God Bird is a story of obsession, the South and the 1940s, told in a very poetic way. Hill captures the period and the people, but more than that I felt like I was reading a book about another time, a primeval time in the swamps of the South, in the ‘Big Woods’, with decomposing cypress and slithery creatures, a place where time stood still: a time of The Lord God Bird, the huge ivory-billed woodpecker.

    This is a haunting book about obsession. Hill paints a very vivid picture of the South, and he peoples this setting with strong characters that will reverberate within you long after you finish.

    Read The Lord God Bird. It’s one of my favorites of the year. I look forward to reading more books by Russell Hill.

    I wrote awhile ago about swamps and orchids and The Ghost Orchid, an orchid that seemed to be extinct has now surfaced (or at least can be seen) in the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. Many novels and non-fiction have been written about the obsession of finding this orchid.

    Is the Lord God Bird really extinct? Have humans developed and encroached so much on the natural habitat that they are no longer there? Two years ago Sixty Minutes had a segment on the Lord God Bird when two bird watchers reported seeing one. The Ivory-billed woodpecker was presumed extinct and had not been seen for over 40 years. No photos–just a 4 second video of a bird in flight, sort of. Other non-fiction books about The Bird: The Race to Save the Lord God Bird by Phil Hoose. It’s all a great mystery!

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