This was a book I picked up in Larry McMurtry's
Archer City Bookstore No. 2 and was attracted by the colorful cover.
In his book Elsewhere in the Land of Parrots, Jim Paul takes the reader from the hills of San Francisco to the mangroves in Ecuador. Along with the story, Mr.Paul gives us a glimpse into life along the equator. For instance, there are more species in the equatorial tropics than there are in other parts of the world. The farther north or south you travel from the equator, the number of animal and plant types diminish. Among the wonderful descriptions, he also gives us a good sense of what the mangroves smell like and sets the reader with the characters in the story.
From the cover:
When reclusive San Francisco poet David Huntington receives a wild parrot - an unwanted gift from his father - his carefully sheltered life comes undone. The parrot has a jungle shriek, fierce eyes, and a beak that wreaks havoc first on David's apartment and then on his life. When the parrot drives away the first woman he's met in months, David throws the bird out the window - and follows it out into the world.
This book was so different from ones I normally read, I got totally immersed in the story.
Jim Paul follows two characters throughout the book: Fern, an American who is studying for her Ph.D, the parrots in Ecuador for her dissertation in the Guayas River Estuary and David a recluse. Like David, Fern is having relationship problems, but her goal to study the birds, that had once numbered in the thousands but with the cutting down of upland forests, were 90% gone now, has become her passion.
David, meanwhile, is looking for the parrot that had flown from his apartment window and discovers a flock, not in the tropics, but in the skies above Telegraph Hill in San Francisco.
The two of them search for the birds in their own way.