Every now and then a book comes along that is sharply original and unmistakably itself, while at the same time it fits easily into one's reading experience. Birdy … is such a book. Its distinctly idiosyncratic characters, Al and Birdy, are quickly assimilated into a family of book relatives: Huck and Tom, then Sancho Panza and Don Quixote, then Queequeg and Ishmael, Crane's Henry Flemmming, and Holden Caulfield….
In nineteen alternating but not antiphonal chapters, their two voices tell a double love story and develop a counterpoint which, as in a Bach fugue, enriches each voice and makes the value of the two far greater than their sum….
[When] Al tries to explain legs,...
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