Sunday, June 12, 2011

Unassailable Owl Theory Totally Proven Again

I was just over at Square Books, rearranging and freshening my famous recommendation shelf, when I ran into my undergraduate student Andy, who was thumbing through a volume of Lewis Nordan, which is something you are always happy to see an undergrad doing. Andy volunteered that MUSIC OF THE SWAMP by Lewis Nordan is out of print. Can this be true? An unforgivable manmade calamity if so. Andy mentioned that book's wonderful epilogue, titled "Owls," which once again proves my unassailable theory that all great books have owls in them. A boy (the narrator) is riding in a car with his father, who has had some beers. The boy is nervous. They speed past a sign that the boy thinks says "SLOW" but the father insists says "OWLS." They go back. The sign says OWLS. The father cuts off the engine. "Then I heard the owls overhead. I heard the soft centrifugal buffeting of their feathers on the night air. I heard a sound from their owl-throats so soft that I believed it was their breathing." It goes on from there. I was once at a reading where Tom Franklin introduced Lewis Nordan and then Lewis Nordan read that whole epilogue. Soon enough everybody was weeping. Boy oh boy was it great!