Sunday, September 7, 2008

In Hovering Flight-Joyce Hinnefeld

In Hovering Flight
Joyce Hinnefeld
Unbridled, Sep 2008, $24.95
ISBN: 1932961585

Renowned aviary and overall environmental artist Addie Sturmer Kavanagh is dying from cancer. She makes a final death wish to "clear orders for a brazenly illegal burial". Meanwhile her thirtyish years old daughter Scarlet comes home not to just to bury her mom, but to finally understand her mom. Even her death request is so Addie, weird to anyone except perhaps the inner sanctum.

Addie was just another bored art major when she fell in love with Professor Tom Kavanagh and his passion for birds. They became a formidable entry in the environmental activist movements and antiwar protests. Some time after Scarlet is born, Addie changed from gung ho bird lover to outraged political warrior. Her tormented switch left Scarlet and to a degree Tom behind; now Scarlet needs to know from Addie’s beloved friends Cora and Lou why to include a special funeral at the Jersey shore instead of her Pennsylvania home.

The key to this terrific character study is the seemingly dysfunctional relationship between mother and daughter. Scarlet has felt neglected by her mom all her life; in fact she believes the search for proof that the Cuvier’s Knight is an extinct aviary species superseded her needs. Still IN HOVERING FLIGHT pattern, Scarlet wants to soar like her mom did, but before she can use her wings she needs to know why in her opinion the environment and birds meant more to Addie than her daughter ever did. This is a superb relationship drama.

Harriet Klausner

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