Andes Rising (Hardcover)

By James Munves

New Directions Publishing Corporation, 9780811214070, 189pp.

Publication Date: May 17, 1999

List Price: 21.95*
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A new American novel-about an ornothologist, a physicist, and a rabbi-that takes us deep into the heart of the Colombian Andes. In Andes Rising the reader is confronted with a mystery. What happened to Thomas Cooper? A scientist who had worked on the Manhattan Project and attended the disarmament conference following World War II, he had quit his job, left his family, and gone off to Colombia, South America, on an ornothological project undertaken by the Peace Corps. His family and friends have lost all trace of him. Finally his mother persuades her rabbi to go down to Colombia and find out if Thomas is dead or alive. What the rabbi eventually finds is Thomas's journal filled with notes about his bird studies, ruminations about life (to which the rabbi sometimes responds), and pages from the work of Chapman, the early 20th-century ornothologist who collected specimens for the Museum of Natural History. Flashing through all is a rare tanager with turquoise markings. The director of the project wants Thomas to bring in specimens of this bird. "If what is being prepared is another extermination," Thomas writes, "I am not going to abet it by pushing another bird to extinction." But is he slowly going mad? Does he die in the avalanche, or is he somewhere among the birds of the Andes?