The Spirit Bird


Nelson's story collection explores a number of lives and loves across a variety of geographies. Each story, whether about the man running his own movie business in the desert, the man who transforms from his normal self into a donkey in the blink of an eye, the woman struggling to deal with her unstable father, or the man exploring the further reaches of his sexuality, touches on the complexities and intricacies of personal relationships. . . . Nelson's stories show how humans become unsettled; how our spirits, hopes, and aspirations are always in a state of flux. Each plot turns on unexpected developments, which challenge our perceptions of reality. Together the stories act as a powerful chorus that speaks to the reader about love and loss, and overcoming obstacles.
Publishers Weekly
Winner, 2014 Drue Heinz Literature Prize

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Winner of the 2014 Drue Heinz Literature Prize

The flight path of The Spirit Bird traces many landscapes and different transitory lives. A young man scratches out a living from the desert; a woman follows a rarely seen bird in the far reaches of Alaska; a poor single mother sorts out her life in a fancy mountain town. Other protagonists yearn to cross a racial divide, keep developers from a local island, explore their sexuality, and mourn a lost loved one. The characters in this collection are compelled to seek beyond their own horizons, and as the stories unfold, the search becomes the expression of their desires. The elusive spirit bird is a metaphor for what we’ve lost, for what we hope for, and for what we don’t know about ourselves.

336 Pages, 5.2 x 8 in.

September, 2015

isbn : 9780822963875

about the author

Kent Nelson

Kent Nelson is the author of the novels Language in the Blood and Land That Moves, Land That Stands Still. His short fiction has been included in The Best American Short Stories, The Best of the West, O. Henry, Pushcart, and The Best American Mystery Stories. An avid birdwatcher, Nelson has identified 757 North American species. After the age of fifty-four, he has twice run the Pikes Peak MarathonÐ26.3 miles, 7,815 feet up and down. He lives in Ouray, Colorado.

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Kent Nelson