the wizard of the pigeons

Book Review: Wizard of the Pigeons, by Megan Lindholm

I borrowed an audio copy of Megan Lindholm‘s Wizard of the Pigeons through Hoopla.
wizard of the pigeons

Seattle: a place as magical as the Emerald City.

Seattle: a place as magical as the Emerald City. Subtle magic seeps through the cracks in the paving stones of the sprawling metropolis. But only the inhabitants who possess special gifts are open to the city’s consciousness; finding portents in the graffiti, reading messages in the rubbish or listening to warnings in the skipping-rope chants of children. Wizard is bound to Seattle and her magic. His gift is the Knowing — a powerful enchantment allowing him to know the truth of things; to hear the life-stories of ancient mummies locked behind glass cabinets, to receive true fortunes from the carnival machines, to reveal to ordinary people the answers to their troubles and to safeguard the city’s equilibrium. The magic has its price; Wizard must never have more than a dollar in his pocket, must remain celibate, and he must feed and protect the pigeons. But a threat to Seattle has begun to emerge in the portents. A malevolent force born of Wizard’s forgotten past has returned to prey upon his power and taunt him with images of his obscure history; and he is the only wizard in Seattle who can face the evil and save the city, his friends and himself.

my review

I picked Wizard of the Pigeons up through Hoopla, from the ‘newly added’ shelf. So, I assumed it was a new book. However, about halfway through I stopped by Goodreads to drop a quick status update and learned two things. One, i didn’t have a new book, but a new edition of an older book—the 35th anniversary edition, as fate would have it. And two, Megan Lindholm is the same author who writes as Robin Hobb. Neither of these things changed anything about the book, but I did look at it a little differently.

I’d call this book more interesting than enjoyable. But the way Lindholm leaves the reader to decide where the lines lay between reality, Wizard’s wizardry, and his history as a Vietnam veteran and the resulting trauma is intriguing. So is characters supposition about what causes them each to become wizards. The book really is a wonderful tribute to veterans and their struggles. It focuses on Vietnam vets, probably due to when it was written, but would work just as well for returning soldiers of more recent conflicts. Though one might quibble about whether the ending is the happiest outcome or not.  I can see people having differing opinions on the question.

I liked Wizard and the rest…except Linda (who you’re not supposed to like). The writing is good and the audio version is a pleasure to listen to. The book is slow at times, but I don’t think I minded that too much. All in all, a success for me.

wizard of the pigeons photo


Other Reviews:

SF Site

Wizard of the Pigeons: A novel with many layers

 

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