Under Howard Norman’s touch, the English language is thrillingly defamiliarized, and in his finest book, The Bird Artist, his simple, spare sentences resonate to startling effect. His characters speak lyrical combinations of words and unfamiliar idioms that invigorate the lean narrative. Even the names of the characters are novel and engrossing—Orkney, Alaric, Botho, Fabian, Boas, Lemuel. They instill every page with an alien rhythm, marked by the sounds of a small Newfoundland fishing town at the turn of the century.
(Fiction; Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1994)