Picks and Pans Review: Blackbird Days
by Ken Chowder
The oldest of three brothers tells this loosely put-together story of a New England family. He is 40, an unmarried crossword-puzzle creator in New York. The youngest brother is deserted by his wife, and he quits his teaching job to work on a farm and write about birds. The middle brother, a lawyer of 37, falls for and marries a waitress. The brothers' mother is a haughty woman whose great expectations are always disappointed. The father, who left the whole family almost 30 years earlier, lies dying of cancer in a New York hospital. That's about all that happens in this fine first novel. But the writing itself is unusually interesting, making the past part of the present and creating an almost magical sense of reality. (Harper, $9.95)
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