Creation: A Novel

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Random House Canada, 2002 - 307 pages
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""In a life so well-documented, these next few months form a rare gap. It is as if the dark cloud and fog Audubon sails into transcends mere weather, and becomes a state of mind. As if Labrador itself (or its weather) swallows the story.""
His need to capture the fugitive colours of birds pushed John James Audubon into impossible places, none more dangerous than the fog-ridden coast of Labrador in the summer of 1833. In mesmerizing prose, novelist Katherine Govier explores this fateful summer in the life of a man as untamed as his subjects.
Running two steps ahead of the bailiff, alternately praised and reviled by critics, John James Audubon set himself the audacious task of drawing, from nature, every bird in North America. The result was his masterpiece, The Birds of America, which he and his family published and sold to subscribers on both sides of the Atlantic. In June 1833, he enlisted his son and a party of young gentlemen to set sail for nesting grounds no ornithologist had ever seen, in the treacherous passage between Newfoundland and Labrador.
Fogbound at Little Natashquan, he encounters Captain Henry Wolsey Bayfield of the Royal Navy, whose mission is to chart the labyrinthine coast to make it safe for sea traffic. Bayfield is an exacting and duty-bound aristocrat; the charismatic Audubon spins tales to disguise his dubious parentage and lack of training. Bayfield is a confirmed bachelor; Audubon is a married man in love with his young assistant. But the captain becomes the artist's foil and his measuring stick, his judge and, oddly, the recipient of his long-held secrets.
In this atmospheric and enthralling novel, Katherine Govier recreates the summer in which"the world's greatest living bird artist" finally understood the paradox embedded in his art: that the act of creation was also an act of destruction.

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Contents

A Name
15
The Surveyor
32
Obstinate Creatures
48
Copyright

12 other sections not shown

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About the author (2002)

Canadian author, Katherine Govier was born on July 4, 1948 in Edmonton, Canada. She attended the University of Alberta and York University where she studied English Literature. She has published several novels and short story collections. She won the City of Toronto Book Award for Hearts of Flame in 1992. She was shortlisted for both the Trillium Award for Immaculate Conception Photography Gallery and Books in Canada, WH Smith First Novel Award, for Random Descent. In 1997 she received Canada's Marian Engel Award for a woman writer in mid-career in 1997. She currently resides in Toronto, Canada.

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