The ostrich is one of natures misfits: a gigantic bird that can neither fly nor sing. But the fin-de-sicle fetish for feathers made ostrich plumes more precious than gold. Rob Nixon grew up near the South African desert where ostriches first boomed, and had an early passion for the outsize bird. Later, his rejection of apartheid led him to immigrate to the United States, where he encountered a new wave of ostrich mania: American ranchers were trying to convert the gawky bird into a low-cal cuisine. Part memoir, part travelogue, Dreambirds is a natural history of a fantasy and a beautifully crafted, candid revelation of a man's soul.AUTHORBIO: Rob Nixon is the Rachel Carson Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, the Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times Book Review, the Village Voice, and Outside magazine. He has been awarded fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation, as well as a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Originally from South Africa, he now lives in Madison, Wisconsin.
Dreambirds: The Natural History of a Fantasy
March 01, 2001