New novel with Fox Islands tie

Dec 31, 2013
Photo by: Ian Rutherford Alice Greenway

New York — Alice Greenway’s new novel “The Bird Skinner,” successor to her Los Angeles Times Book Prize–winning debut “White Ghost Girls,” will be released Jan. 7 by Atlantic Monthly Press. Greenway’s parents have a house on North Haven, and the author has a small cottage on their property. She has been visiting North Haven since she was 16, most recently last summer.

“The Bird Skinner” is a wide-ranging story of lost love and rebirth, set on islands in Maine and the Solomons. North Haven and Vinalhaven appear as Fox and Carver’s islands. Protagonist Jim Kennoway was inspired by Greenway’s grandfather, an ornithologist and wartime intelligence officer. Jim Kennoway was once an esteemed member of the ornithology department at the Museum of Natural History in New York, collecting and skinning birds as specimens. Slowing down from a hard-lived life and a recent leg amputation, Jim retreats to an island in Maine to drink, smoke, and to be left alone.

As a young man, Jim had worked for Naval Intelligence during World War II in the Solomon Islands. While spying on Japanese shipping from behind enemy lines, he had befriended Tosca, a young islander who worked with him as a scout. Now, 30 years later, Tosca sends his daughter Cadillac to stay with Jim in the weeks before she begins premedical studies at Yale. She arrives to Jim’s consternation, yet will capture his heart and the hearts of everyone she meets, irrevocably changing their lives.

“The Bird Skinner” is rich in island detail, redolent of Maine in summer and of the Pacific. The novelist will introduce her latest novel during a series of winter events in Boston, Philadelphia, New York City and Washington, D.C.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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