THE SCANDAROON by Henry Williamson


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A discreetly atmospheric book set in a rural Devon village of pigeon-fanciers in the '20's in which two very special types -- the Anglophile who subscribes to The Countryman and the homing-bird hobbyist -- are happily accommodated. The ""Scandaroon"" was a multicolored variant of a German breed and the pigeon's arrival in town introduces and unites all episodes surrounding the deeply satisfying cycles of bird care, raising and training. There's a disputatious flap about the mysteries of flight led by the doctor and a retired admiral; much discussion about fair and foul methods of goading homers back to the cote; and the grand preparations and excitement surrounding the annual homing race (from Spain) and the release of the tipplers (short-distance high flyers). Among the fanciers -- the boy Peter, who serves his novitiate with the Scandaroon's nestlings; the doctor and the admiral; and those Andy Capp cut-ups -- Sam Baggett and the Missus -- whose tragicomic battle at the close causes the death of the lovely Scandaroon -- ""a bird of a thousand Persian autumns."" Sam's vernacular is a rough headwind at first (""A yearling cock be mazed as a brish"") but with the wealth of information and pleasing lyrical tributes to the birds and their handsome enemies -- the hawks -- there's nothing else to ruffle the pinfeathers and plenty to soar with if you're so minded. Attractive drawings complement.

Pub Date: April 9th, 1973
Publisher: Saturday Review Press