Tuesday, July 1, 2014 |
This fictionalized account of the life of ornithologist John James Audubon brings readers inside the heart and mind of a driven, passionate man with a singular goal: to draw every bird in North America. Creation focuses on the summer of 1833, when Audubon and his assistants travelled to Newfoundland. The end result was Audubon's definitive The Birds of America, but Katherine Govier accomplishes something fine as well: a hypnotic and original novel.
"We do know, sitting as we do in their future, that the great man's son, young Johnny, the one so quick to learn the masts and ropes from the Yankee sailors, will have a wife a few years hence and that this wife will have a child. And that eventually, when the artist and his wife, and all their children are dead, this granddaughter, Maria, will come into possession of his letters and diaries. She will appoint herself keeper of secrets and protector of reputations. And what she reads about her famous grandfather's life, and particularly this summer of 1833, will displease her. She will excise huge portions of the journals. She will publish the bowdlerized version and destroy the original. Letters will be lost, burned, turned into dust."
From Creation by Katherine Govier ©2003. Published by Vintage Canada.