Fusing wry humor and family drama with elements of mystery and environmental adventure, The Life List of Adrian Mandrick follows a self-destructive top-level birder on a convoluted journey toward grace. With a compressed narrative style, and themes as urgent as its pace, it explores the ways we humans lose sight of what’s most essential in the face of our own fears:
Anesthesiologist Adrian Mandrick, a doctor addicted to the very pain medication he prescribes, is filled with contradictory impulses. He wants to be a good husband to his wife, a good father to his children, to forgive the crime his once-beloved mother committed and the long lost father who accused her. But his pills get in the way, and all he wants to think about is his life list—that all-encompassing list of 863 bird species he’s spotted and verified. When a search for an extremely rare Ivory-billed Woodpecker—the same bird he and his mother thought they spotted in the fondest memory from his childhood—leaves him stranded in the thick swamplands of Florida’s panhandle, Adrian will be forced to confront his tumultuous past and his present failures and question what is really important in his life.
"That night, he dreams of the Woodpecker. Adrian is Alexander Wilson, the bird painter, and he has the huge Ivorybill attached to his waist by its leg with a telephone cord. They’re traveling in a carriage across the small farms and jungled forests of the south looking for a hotel, and as they enter upon a rickety bridge that crosses moving water, a muffled cry rises from below. Adrian (Alexander) yanks back on the reins to stop the horse, planning to search for the sound. But as he starts to climb out of the carriage, the bird begins pecking at his chin and face trying to get free, and when Adrian attempts to unhook the bird—it wasn’t worth it, he thinks; what was he thinking, he thinks; why would he tie a living creature to his waist; how had he traveled so long without asking this simple question—the telephone wire is coiled around the bird’s neck and wings, around Adrian’s forearms, binding his wrists, choking them both, the bird piercing his eardrums with its wailing. Adrian and the bird fall, in a flailing and constricted mass, to the floor of the bridge, still flailing, writhing, trapped together as one being, so that with every panicked movement, the cord gets tighter and more tangled. While from under the bridge, the sound inextricable from the shushing of the moving water, the sustained crying—the voice of his mother, hurt somewhere not so very far away, maybe trapped or wounded. He’ll never be able to get to her now."
- from The Life List of Adrian Mandrick
"[An] intense, poignant debut... This engaging, unusual novel successfully combines the best elements of a psychological portrait, a travel adventure, and a suspenseful mystery."—Library Journal (starred review)
Stunning and lyrical, The Life List of Adrian Mandrick will make you want to both slow down to savor every elegant sentence and tear through for the heart-pounding plot—I couldn’t put it down. A masterful debut from a profound talent.”—Lisa Duffy, author of The Salt House
“The Life List of Adrian Mandrick is impossible to put down: it’s dramatic and fast-paced on every page, but still a poignant and intense look at a man and family reaching breaking point.” – Claire Fuller, author of Swimming Lessons and Our Endless Numbered Days
"The Life List of Adrian Mandrick is a poignant story of a man whose epic search for glory forces him to face his own human failures, all set against the backdrop of a stunning, natural world that there’s still time to save."—Courtney Maum, author of Touch and I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You
“Read The Life List of Adrian Mandrick. Read it because it is tender and raw, beautiful and ultimately deeply moving. Don’t read it because of the blurb. Read it because it will stay with you.”—John Kenney, author of Truth In Advertising and winner of the 2014 Thurber Prize
“An immensely affecting observation of human nature..." ---Chicago Book Review's Most Anticipated Fiction Books of 2018
Available from Touchstone Books on April 17 '18.
Please click on the cover to pre-order.
Praise for The Life List of Adrian Mandrick
Editor: Lara Blackman, Touchstone Books
Agent: Tim Wojcik, Levin, Greenberg, Rostan
FOR BOOK SIGNING OR SPEAKING EVENTS, CONTACT:
Sydney Morris, Touchstone Publicity, Simon & Schuster Inc.
212.698.7902 | email@example.com