Book Review: Odd Birds by Severo Perez


ODD BIRDS
by
SEVERO PEREZ

Genre: Literary Fiction
Publisher: Texas Christian University Press
Date of Publication: September 24, 2019
Number of Pages: 278 pages 

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The year is 1961. Seventy-year-old Cosimo Infante Cano, a Cuban-born artist in need of inspiration, follows his lover to Texas in what was to be a temporary sabbatical from their life in France. Unexpectedly, he finds himself stranded in San Antonio, nearly penniless, with little more than the clothes on his back and an extraordinary pocket watch. His long hair and eccentric attire make him an odd sight in what he has been told is a conservative cultural backwater.

Cosimo’s French and Cuban passports put a cloud of suspicion over him as events elsewhere in the world play out. Algeria is in open revolt against France. Freedom Riders are being assaulted in Mississippi, and the Bay of Pigs debacle is front-page news. Cosimo confronts nightmares and waking terrors rooted in the horror he experienced during the Great War of 1914–1918. His friends—students, librarians, shopkeepers, laborers, lawyers, bankers, and even a parrot—coalesce around this elderly French artist as he attempts to return to what remains of his shattered life.

His new friends feel empathy for his impoverished condition, but his unconventional actions and uncompromising ethics confuse them. He creates charming drawings he refuses to sell and paints a house simply for the pleasure of making a difference. In the process he forever alters the lives of those who thought they were helping him.

First off, this book has such a beautiful cover. The cover also features three different types of birds. Not sure if this was intentional or not, but the three birds make me think of the three homes that our main character, Cosimo, is from (Cuba, France, and San Antonio). I could be wrong on this, but just a theory. Anyways, beautiful cover!

I also appreciated the attention to detail when it came to the setting. The story mainly takes place in downtown San Antonio, which I am very familiar with. As the author painted the streets and the buildings in our story, I could clearly see where Casimo was going in my head. I read a lot of books set in different places, always with great detail, and I'm happy that our author did a great job representing our city. 

Along with a great setting came equally matched characters. There are plenty of characters that come

into fruition during the book and every single of them had their own personality, their own background, and their own charm. Even the harder to love characters, such as our most disliked character Ruthann, were well written because we felt something. We felt anger towards Ruthann, we felt sympathy towards Cosimo, and we felt sadness towards Sara. Our author was able to create a feeling towards these characters and each one seemed to have at least a bit of character development along the way as well.

Now, there are two storylines going on simultaneously during our story. One is about Cosmino and his predicament in San Antonio, and then there's the Ruthann/librarian workers who are trying to get by while Ruthann doesn't want anything to change in a very changing world. While I was interested in Ruthann as a character and enjoyed reading her parts, I wasn't too invested in the librarian workers, Oscar, Maddie, and Richard's, storyline. Although, their storyline did fit into the overarching story and did help with development, I just wasn't as invested as I was with Cosimo or Ruthann's direct story. 

Overall, I had no other complaints. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It's a great read, so much so that I can't wait to read another book from our author. He did a great job at painting the setting for us, researching his history, and giving us thought out characters. I definitely recommend adding this book to your shelf. Until next time, Happy Reading!





PRAISE FOR THE BOOK
“A pitch-perfect picaresque tale” –John Phillip Santos, Texas Monthly
“Judge this book by its cover. It’s a stunning… captivating read.” –Alice Embree, Rag Radio Blog

An “elegantly conceived tale–boasting a culturally and historically astute plot–that demands to be read.” –Kirkus Reviews
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SEVERO PEREZ, an award-winning filmmaker, playwright, and writer, grew up in working-class Westside San Antonio and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. For over forty-five years he produced programing for PBS and for network and cable television. His feature film adaptation of Tomas Rivera’s novel . . . and the earth did not swallow him (1994) won eleven international awards, including five for Best Picture. His first novel, Willa Brown & the Challengers (2012), is historical fiction based on the real-life African American aviation pioneer Willa Beatrice Brown. Odd Birds is his second novel. Visit his website to learn more. 






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FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY, 
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3/29/22

Excerpt

Chapter Break Book Blog

3/29/22

Review

The Book's Delight

3/29/22

BONUS Promo

Hall Ways Blog

3/30/22

Author Interview

Sybrina's Book Blog

3/30/22

Review

Jennie Reads

3/31/22

Review

Forgotten Winds

3/31/22

BONUS Promo

LSBBT Blog

4/1/22

Author Interview

StoreyBook Reviews

4/1/22

Review

Rainy Days with Amanda

4/2/22

Review

Book Fidelity

4/3/22

Bonus Story

All the Ups and Downs

4/4/22

Author Interview

The Page Unbound

4/4/22

Review

It's Not All Gravy

4/5/22

Review

The Plain-Spoken Pen

4/6/22

Review

Shelf Life Blog

4/7/22

Review

Book Bustle

4/7/22

Review

Reading by Moonlight

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Comments

  1. Fantastic! I love all the extras you put into your book reviews, and it sounds like this book really touched close to home with it's setting. I also think it's super interesting that one of the not-so-nice characters really stole the show for you. Thanks for sharing!

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