One of the most exciting debut novels for years. Foul-mouthed but lyrical, with a tragic love story at its core, Pelican Blood gatecrashes our assumptions about obsession, anorak pastimes and what makes life worth living. 'I heard somebody say once: you don't think about your troubles near water. Me, I can't feel low around birds. it wipes your mind clean just watching them.' Birders are addicts. Rarely-seen birds are the best drug they know. Whether they're cleaning toilets, sitting in a caff, doodling or dancing, when the pager bleeps with news that up on Stornoway or out on the Kent saltflats or on a Scilly rock there's a supertick sighting, Bish, Stevie Red Bus and the gang pile into their car and belt up the motorway just for the pure thrill, the shared exhaltation of seeing that rare bird in all its feathered reality. It's some way to life a life, at least. Half the time it matters so much you'll kill to protect it and half the time you wonder why bother carrying on at all. And somewhere in between you might just find something that looks like mating for life: find it, lose it, then find it all over again.
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Cris Freddi doesn't like to say he was educated at Oxford. He did go to the university there, but his class of degree reflects his last year at the hallowed place, which he spent in a rock band. This, says he, accounts for the style and mood of Pelican Blood. Influences include Joe Strummer, Johnny Rotten's autobiography and Cris's own football writing for When Saturday Comes.Review:
`[Freddi's] sensitive treatment of the rekindled romance between artist Stevie and the trigger-happy narrator reveals subtle emotional shadings. Bill Oddie is unlikely to approve of a novel with such a wonky moral compass, which is just one of the many good reasons for reading it' Sunday Times`Compulsively readable. It is, at heart, a thoughtful and often moving meditation on the nature of obsession and the redemptive role of love and friendship in lives damaged by the hammer-blows of experience. It's also a bitter lament for a world blighted by human greed and folly' Jem Poster, Guardian`Far from being a dry exposition on a minority pastime, Pelican Blood combines in its central character a scorching, militant passion for the environment with a strongly urban sense of nihilism, evoking a savage universe where the ruthless cycles and lonely beauty of the natural world feel far more meaningful than the cut-and-thrust emptiness of the civilised one. This is an original, deeply felt novel whose raw lyricism feels powered by the forces of nature itself' Metro`The unnamed narrator of Pelican Blood is a committed bird watcher, but Bill Oddie he ain't. Misanthropic, foul-mouthed and suicidally depressed, he twitches compulsively rather than for fun - once they've been ticked off the list, the birds are of little interest in themselves. Amid the company of misfits that he keeps, though, he doesn't seem all that unusual, and he does have two very close friends. Their booze-and drug-fuelled banter makes up much of the book, and the love affair he resumes with one of them provides drama and the eventual route to his salvation' Laurence Phelan, Independent on Sunday
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Book Description Fourth Estate Ltd, 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0007185189