ODD BIRDS – LSBBT


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.
 
 
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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The beautiful cover was only the first of many reasons to pick up this book.  The story takes place in my favorite Texas town – San Antonio.  Set in the early 1960s the conflict of race issues happening at that time are well represented and elaborated during this tale.  The entire story is a juxtaposition of what I did when I first saw this book – judge a book by its cover. 

The old-world style and manners are well embodied in the character of Cosimo.  Cosimo is a man who has lost just about everything in a foreign city yet still retains the heart of who he is.  At a time period when you could not make a simple international phone call to solve a problem, Cosimo used his wits and talent for making friends to deal with an almost impossible situation.  He represents the epitome of class as it has nothing to do with your wallet and everything to do with your character.  Meanwhile, at the local library, history is being made as integration enters the building, much to the chagrin of the librarian Ruthann who is a holdout from an earlier time.  A progressive boss and his addition of three part-time pages bring the current times crashing at her feet. 

At first glance the young pages are also not quite what they appear to be (are you getting this judging by the cover theme?) as each struggles to find their place in not only the library but their own lives.  Each intern or page represents a different aspect of society and yet they find a way to join forces despite the differences.

My favorite line in the book comes near the end – “We hardly did anything,” “Well, it must have felt like a lot to him,”. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it lives up to my first impression of the cover – sometimes, it looks like you can judge a book by its cover.

 
 
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, 
or visit the blogs directly:

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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