Thursday, March 24, 2005

Once again I learn that not everyone can be a writer--or a good writer, at least--no matter how interesting the story to be told. I picked up On the Wing hopeful of a captivating narrative about falcons, but sadly Alan Tennant doesn't possess the knack for such an endeavor. His story is an unusual one, and I enjoyed reading about his travels, but he made the mistake of keeping too close to the actual experiences. There was no plot, no over-arcing connection to bind the adventures together. My editing fingers always start to itch when I read something like this that could have been so much better!

Yet I wouldn't discourage anyone from reading the book. Alan Tennant is a falcon research who spent several months following the migratory route of falcons from Texas to Alaska, and then back down to South America. It's a fascinating adventure as he and his pilot rattle across the country in a plane rather like the Millenium Falcon--they cross borders semi-legally, make emergency landings in the jungle, fly through a raptor "freeway", and are ecstatic every moment that the radio transmitter beeps and keeps them on the trail of the falcons. I couldn't bring myself to care much about his on-again off-again relationship with his long-suffering girlfriend, and the book ends on a note more bitter than sweet, but it was certainly worth reading--as is most anything about falcons.

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