From Publishers Weekly
In this provocative and page-turning debut novel, Hinnefeld (Tell Me Everything and Other Stories
) recounts the life of bird-lover, environmental activist and artist Addie Sturmer Kavanagh. Opening with Addie's death from cancer, and her troublesome dying wish—clear orders for a brazenly illegal burial—Hinnefeld's narrative migrates to Addie's days as a college art student, when she fell in love with birds and with the professor teaching her their biology, Tom Kavanagh. The early years of Addie and Tom's romance follows their birding and collaboration on an environmental, antiwar birding book destined to become a classic. Soon enough, though, the birth of their daughter, Scarlet, along with Addie's growing political and environmental awareness, relegate romance to the back seat. As Addie's creative vision shifts from avian homage to political tirade, the effects of her outspoken eco-outrage on her daughter, husband and two closest girlfriends are predictable but authentic, and at times moving. Hinnefeld's drama soars, especially in its depiction of Addie's complicated relationship with Scarlet, who's also trying to find her wings. (Sept.)
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"One to look out for: a rare, delicate novel...You can't help but be caught up in the way Hinnefeld portrays their hunger for winged creatures, and for each other...lovely." --Ron Charles, The Washington Post Book World "Engaging, smart." --The San Francisco Chronicle "Rich...interesting and intricate...highly original."--Dallas Morning News "[An] elegiac first novel...replete with plotlines, three dimensional characters, and multiple themes. That both makes it a candidate for multiple readings -- each time through you're likely to find something new to appreciate -- and a difficult book to review...a love story, or a tale about the complicated relationship between mothers and daughters, or the choices cancer forces upon you. Others may see it as the story of longtime friendships between women, or the development of an eco-activist. In truth, Hinnefeld is writing about all of these things, and she weaves them together seamlessly, in prose that is both poetic and understated...Hinnefeld not only knows birds and their songs, she understands how relationships change, both subtly and overtly, how love matures, how daughters grow up, how mothers die, and how, in the end, the reality of change is all we have to hold on to."--Nancy Pearl, KUOW and Pearl's Picks "A rich first novel about love, loss, and the fragile beauty of nature...Particularly notable for its engrossing details about bird life... moving."--Library Journal, starred review "A worthwhile read...Even if you don't normally read character dramas such as this, give it a shot. I was glad I did."--Birder's Library "A reverence for motherhood and the environment pervades Hinnefeld's quite sad novel, her first. That and the importance of finding a way to keep fighting from the grave."--The New York Times Book Review "Provocative and page-turning...Hinnefeld's drama soars..." --Publishers Weekly "A compelling and mysterious novel." --Ursula Hegi "I loved Joyce Hinnefeld's debut novel In Hovering Flight so much that I'm at a loss for the right words to adequately portray it. How to describe this unusual novel that is part field notes of a radical environmentalist, part ornithology lecture (complete with beautiful Latin names for birds like Zenaida Macroura, more commonly known as Mourning Dove), part unconventional love story, and part confessional? In a word--breathtaking."--The Internet Review of Books "Elegant and entrancing."--Feminist Review.org