The Impossible Bird
by Patrick O'Leary
Review by Ann Cecil

This book is an intellectual thriller: a novel in which the author never lies to you, but sure confuses you a lot. The characters lie to each other and to themselves, but since this is also a novel of discovery, they gradually home in on truth. And the truth is very weird.

The basic story is about two brothers, Mike and Danny. As children, orphaned young, they were incredibly close; as adults, they are anything but close. An alien appears to each of them, and starts them off on a journey to find each other. In the course of this journey (which has metaphorical overtones), they and we learn the reasons for the estrangement, some of which include old secrets and betrayals. We also discover the even stranger truth of an existence neither Mike nor Danny expected, but in a weird way requested.

The novel makes good use of some movie sf references, "Klaatu barata nikto' being the most obvious. Another unspecified reference is to a very popular recent movie, especially popular with the younger fans (think black trenchcoats - classy, not hammy). The Impossible Bird deals with the choices of living, posits an impossible (today) choice, and comes to answer that can be argued with, but it ultimately fascinating.

Recommended by Ann Cecil

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