First your wife leaves you and then you decide to cut loose from a dead-end existence hiding out from the police and Chupaco Reyes, King of the Colombian Mob, in your hometown. What happens? You become the Birdman. You fly away and leave your troubles behind. Or so you think. Billy Kagan lands in the Ireland of the Celtic Tiger with the idea of escaping the past, if only for a brief moment of blessed relief from the bad luck and misery that seems to dog him like a curse in the blood. Instead he falls into the clutches of rebel environmentalists and events begin to spiral in ever-tighter circles. Under the assumed name of Bert Smith, an expert on migratory seabirds in the employ of the New York Zoological Society, Kagan becomes our best hope for sanity against the ravages of post-modern ennui, industry and angst as he struggles to find solace and love in the rapidly fading Celtic twilight. This vel by Anthony Caplan offers up an intriguing blend of voices, Irish, English, American, male and female, in a tale that is a timely reworking of the picaresque. As Kagan travels the land searching for peace of mind from the ravages of his past, we get a glimpse of an Ireland t often accessible to the surveryor of contemporary fiction. A land where the myths and dreams of the past are under siege from an encroaching and homogenizing prosperity, t to mention international drug smuggling and microwave radiation. In the process, Caplan holds up a mirror to the cracks in the American dream.
Anthony Caplan was born in Caracas, Venezuela to an Irish-American mother and Russian-Jewish father. He was educated in the U.S., and has worked as a journalist in Mexico, Central America, England and Ireland. Currently he lives in New Hampshire where he teaches, writes and is rebuilding a 150-year-old farmhouse.