Snapper (Vintage Contemporaries)
May 2013 Indie Next List
— David Enyeart, Common Good Books, St. Paul, MN
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**NPR's Best Books of the Year 2013**
A great, hilarious new voice in fiction: the poignant, all-too-human recollections of an affable bird researcher in the Indiana backwater as he goes through a disastrous yet heartening love affair with the place and its people.
Nathan Lochmueller studies birds, earning just enough money to live on. He drives a glitter-festooned truck, the Gypsy Moth, and he is in love with Lola, a woman so free-spirited and mysterious she can break a man’s heart with a sigh or a shrug. Around them swirls a remarkable cast of characters: the proprietor of Fast Eddie’s Burgers & Beer, the genius behind “Thong Thursdays”; Uncle Dart, a Texan who brings his swagger to Indiana with profound and nearly devastating results; a snapping turtle with a taste for thumbs; a German shepherd who howls backup vocals; and the very charismatic state of Indiana itself. And at the center of it all is Nathan, creeping through the forest to observe the birds he loves and coming to terms with the accidental turns his life has taken.
Praise For Snapper (Vintage Contemporaries)…
ELLE'S LETTRES READERS' PRIZE 2013
O, the Oprah Magazine: 10 Titles to Pick Up Now
Vogue: “Strongest Debut Fictions of the Spring”
Vanity Fair: “Hot Type”
“Reading Brian Kimberling’s debut novel, Snapper, is a fascinating and disorienting experience. The protagonist is Nathan Lochmueller, a southern Indiana native, who makes a meager living observing the effect of climate change on the region’s songbirds. The single square mile of woods that composes his domain is really a metaphor for the region as a whole, and Lochmueller moves through it with a mixture of familiarity and bewilderment. . . . Like Indiana’s leaves, the colors of Kimberling’s book are vivid, often startling.” —The Washington Post
“Poignant as well as thought-provoking—a delightful departure from the ordinary. . . . It’s quite a feat, to keep readers reading on the strength of laughter. Kimberling . . . turns the trick effortlessly.” —The Seattle Times
“Mr. Kimberling grew up in the Hoosier state, and the book captures the place with wry humor, affection for its woodlands and exasperation with its provincialism.” —The New York Times
“Excellent debut novel . . . a delightful, wry story of a young ornithologist romping around the Indiana backcountry in a glitter-encrusted truck called the Gypsy Moth. There’s no doubting Kimberling’s own expertise in (or obsession with) birding after reading either the book.” —Flavorwire
“Funny+adroit fiction.” —Margaret Atwood, via Twitter
“Brian Kimberling’s Snapper is a phenomenal book, quietly profound and as entertaining as any book I’ve read in the past five years. . . . Kimberling articulates, better than anyone I’ve read, the sorrow that arises from trying to find the magic of one’s youth with the original ingredients.” —Weston Cutter, Minneapolis Star Tribune
“This kind of small-town adolescence is uniquely American, and it’s a lifestyle that’s rapidly vanishing. Brian Kimberling perfectly captures this experience in his debut novel, Snapper. . . . Kimberling writes about all of this in a voice part John Audubon, part Holden Caulfield but uniquely his own. The book’s pace is leisurely, the mood is sometimes melancholy, and readers will finish the final page feeling thoroughly satisfied.” —CNN.com
“[A] hilarious debut novel.” —O, the Oprah Magazine: 10 Titles to Pick Up Now
“Brian Kimberling's debut novel, Snapper, is a lovely, loose-limbed collection of stories about an aimless ornithologist.” —NPR.org, First Reads
“Brian Kimberling’s debut novel, Snapper, captures the high lonesome beauty of a songbird’s canorous call. Nathan Lochmueller, an amateur ornithologist and future falconer, adventures through the Indiana wilds heartsick with Yeatsian love but full of good humor and stumbling grace. As Nathan searches for starlings, he teaches us all to care more deeply about the wonders and dangers of the natural world. Snapper is a brilliant field study, a soulful guide to the humble glories and enduring legacies of the Great Midwest. Brian Kimberling is a writer of serious wit and wisdom.” —Amber Dermont, author of The Starboard Sea and Damage Control
“Brian Kimberling is an amazingly talented and wise writer. Snapper is filled with sly humor and uncommon grace and some of the most memorable characters to appear in fiction in recent years.” —Donald Ray Pollock, author of The Devil All the Time
“[A] catchy, well-written debut novel. . . . [An] accomplished, ironic Midwest coming-of-age tale.” —Publishers Weekly
“In those awkward, drifting, post-college years, when many young men find themselves working behind a counter, Nathan Lochmueller learns he has a gift for tracking songbirds. . . . Told with precise and memorable prose in beautifully rendered, time-shifted vignettes, Snapper richly evokes the emotions of coming to adulthood. Nathan’s fascination with the physical world and with living an authentic and meaningful life, his disdain for jingoistic environmentalism, and his struggle to find balance between the cloistered liberalism of college towns and the conservatism of small towns are thoughtfully explored. All this and it’s funny, too. . . . Kimberling writes gracefully about absurdity, showing a rich feeling for the whole range of human tragicomedy. A delightful debut.” —Booklist, starred review
Vintage, 9780345803368, 240pp.
Publication Date: March 11, 2014
About the Author
BRIAN KIMBERLING grew up in southern Indiana and spent two years working as a professional birdwatcher before living in the Czech Republic, Turkey, Mexico, and now England. He received an MA in creative writing from Bath Spa University in 2010.