I have just finished reading this novel and found it to be refreshingly original, both in terms of the written structure and also the approach, in which Paul Cooper retreats from a lonely, dysfunctional life into a world dominated by birds. His entire sense of identity is linked so strongly to the birds he loves and the narrative structures so much of the plot around his appreciation and knowledge of the subject matter.
I don't want to drop any spoilers in here but this is also a damn good story with a satisfying twist. Michael Stewart gives Cooper a believable voice, one that whilst sometimes desperate in its loneliness, is never prone to self pity and avoids the possible pitfall of relying too heavily on the bird angle and making the adolescent Cooper too off the wall to relate to. I was intrigued and touched by the narrative and as the plot threads come together the climax was unexpected until it unfolded and yet the clues had been skilfully woven in such a way that no reader could feel suddenly cheated.
I imagine that this title will build a steady and loyal fan base as time passes.