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An Ornithologist's Guide to Life


Ann Hood


List Price: 23.95*
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Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (7/17/2005)


Ann Hood's edgy short stories, reminiscent of Lorrie Moore and Antonya Nelson, find the surreal in everyday occurrences.

Looking at her characters as if through a pair of binoculars, Ann Hood captures the extraordinary in the ordinary. A pregnant woman left by her husband cooks obsessively to cope with her loss, but never tastes a morsel. In an attempt to stay sober, a young alcoholic seduces her priest and embarks on a tour of caverns with him. An adolescent girl picks up bird-watching as a hobby and, in her newfound habit of observing others, discovers a budding romance between her mother and her neighbor. These stories, many published in The Paris Review, Glimmer Train, Story, and The Colorado Review, are full of characters seeking an escape from their lives while uncovering small moments of understanding that often have huge implications and consequences. They discover that they can only find peace once they stop searching for a way out. Through a set of diverse voices and lively storytelling, Hood creates authentic, personal, secret worlds full of eccentric detail.

Praise For An Ornithologist's Guide to Life: Stories

[Hood] writes with electrifying frankness.... what's most arresting about these stories is their ferocious sexuality, an animality wryly noted in the collection's title and explored in each finely crafted tale with candor, wit, and high regard for women's resiliency and spirit.
— Booklist

I've been reading and writing for around 65 years now….I've never read anything by…somebody as wonderful as Ann Hood.
— Carolyn See - Washington Post

Shines with beguiling but ordinary characters....As always, her writing works its magic.
— Sue Monk Kidd, author of The Secret Life of Bees

Gorgeous and haunting.
— Vanity Fair

Ann Hood's short stories go down easy, like a cool, refreshing glass of clear water.
— Sam Coale, - Providence Journal

Hood's tales are sexy, silly and full of sympathy for trapped creatures of the feathered or human variety.
— Time Out New York

One of those collections that is a pure pleasure to dip into.
— Meg Wolitzer, author of The Wife

W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393059007, 240pp.

Publication Date: July 17, 2004

About the Author

Ann Hood is the author of eight previous books, including the best-selling memoir Comfort: A Journey Through Grief and best-selling novels The Book That Matters Most and The Knitting Circle. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island.