Review & Giveaway: A Wall of Bright Dead Feathers by Babette Fraser Hale

A WALL OF BRIGHT DEAD FEATHERS
By Babette Fraser Hale
Pages: 216
Pub Date: March 1st, 2021
Categories: Short Stories / Literary Fiction

Scroll for Giveaway! 

 

Most are newcomers to the scenic, rolling countryside of central Texas whose charms they romanticize, even as the troubles they hoped to leave behind persist. Twelve stories highlight “the book’s recurring theme of desire—for freedom, for clarity, for autonomy, and for personal fulfillment…When women are alone, unencumbered and unbeholden to anyone, they engage in intense internal reflection and show reverence for nature—and during these scenes, Hale’s language is luminescent” (Kirkus Reviews). 
 
 
PRAISE FOR A WALL OF BRIGHT DEAD FEATHERS: 
“Hale shows a great respect for her characters and for the difficulty of their deceptively ordered existence, as well as for the problems they suffer because so much cannot be spoken.” — Francine Prose, on “Silences” 
 

“A vivid set of tales about connection to other people and to the natural world…Hale’s lovely prose shows a keen eye for detail…” 

Kirkus Reviews

Purchase Links: 

Winedale PublishingBrazos Bookstore | Amazon

Review

A Wall of Bright Dead Feathers by Babette Fraser Hale is one of those books that made me take a second look at what I thought I knew and realized that while I may have had an inkling, I am definitely not an expert. Intrigued? You should be.

I have always had mixed feelings about collections of short stories. If I am feeling like a particularly lazy type of reader, I get annoyed when all of the stories don’t converge nicely into a neat little package. Other times, I revel in the author’s ability to evoke such varied and strong emotions from bits and bobs of stories that just materialized in their wonderful mind.

Because I had no clue what I was jumping into exactly, I started reading the first half of this book waiting for the connection between the stories. And once I realized that there was no connecting plot, I was able to sit back and experience the simple, yet complex, characters and be captivated by someone else’s mundane life. That might sound a little boring, but it wasn’t at all. Especially when you take into account the different time periods that Hale sweeps you away to briefly, sometimes a little too briefly. That’s always the problem with short stories, isn’t it? They very often leave you wanting more.

And just as I was accepting the idea that there was no connection between the stories, alas, I found at least one. A woman trying to appease or figure out a man (or boy) at the detriment of her own happiness. I don’t know if that was Hale’s intention, but that was my takeaway from this book. At any rate, I felt like I was reading a cautionary tale of a woman losing herself.

I recall perking up when I got to the “wall of bright dead feathers” part of the book. My brain was jumping up and down, gesticulating wildly for me to sit up and take note. I did, kind of, but I realize that the significance was lost to me until I got to the very end. I guess that taking a mental inventory of the stories when I reached the end helped me to draw my own conclusion about the meaning behind the book’s title.

So who should read this book? Definitely women. There’s a strong vibe of casting off the patriarchy mixed in with a dash of throwing caution to the wind. But I think that the stories are so deeply Texan that this book could be part of the curriculum for a southwestern literature class as well.

Babette Fraser Hale’s fiction has won the Meyerson Award from Southwest Review, a creative artist award from the Cultural Arts Council of Houston, and been recognized among the “other distinguished stories” in Best American Short Stories, 2015. Her story “Drouth” is part of the New York Public Library’s digital collection. Her nonfiction has appeared in Texas Monthly, Houston City, and the Houston Chronicle. She writes a personal essay column for the Fayette County Record.

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Click to visit the Lone Star Literary Life Tour Page
for direct links to each post on this tour, updated daily, 
or visit the blogs directly:

3/23/21

Author Video

3/23/21

Excerpt

3/24/21

Review

3/24/21

BONUS Promo

3/25/21

Review

3/25/21

Author Interview

3/26/21

Review

3/26/21

BONUS Promo

3/27/21

Excerpt

3/28/21

Guest Post

3/29/21

Review

3/29/21

Author Interview

3/30/21

Review

3/31/21

Review

3/31/21

Guest Post

4/1/21

Review

4/1/21

Review

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2 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews, Giveaway, Lone Star Book Blog Tours

2 responses to “Review & Giveaway: A Wall of Bright Dead Feathers by Babette Fraser Hale

  1. I wasn’t sure if this was a like it book or a love it book for you — until I read that last sentence! WOW! Can’t wait to add it to my shelf! Thanks for the review.

  2. mcm0704

    One of the things I love about reading reviews of books that I’ve read is seeing the different aspects of the story, or stories in this case. That always makes me think a little more about what the message of the story is.

    Great review!

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