First US edition
|Publisher|| Picador (UK)|
Pantheon Books (US)
|September 30, 2003|
|LC Class||PR6068.A22 W39 2003|
Waxwings 2003 is the second novel by Jonathan Raban
Jonathan Raban is a British travel writer, critic, and novelist. He has received several awards, such as the National Book Critics Circle Award, The Royal Society of Literature's Heinemann Award, the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award, the PEN West Creative Nonfiction Award, the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award, and a 1997 Washington State Governor's Writer's Award. Since 1990 he has lived with his daughter in Seattle. In 2003, his novel Waxwings was long listed for the Man Booker Prize.
Raban muses over the idea for a Seattle-based novel near the end of his American road trip in Hunting Mister Heartbreak . Whilst sailing on Lake Union, he portrays himself as a fictional writer called Rainbird who, in toying with the idea for a novel, invents a character called Woon Soo Rhee. Woon Soo Rhee materializes as Chick in Waxwings:
A road trip, sometimes spelled roadtrip, is a long distance journey on the road. Typically, road trips are long distances traveled by automobile.
Hunting Mister Heartbreak: A Discovery of America is a travelogue of Jonathan Raban's personal rediscovery of America following in the footsteps of European immigrants. It won the 1991 Thomas Cook Travel Book Award.
Lake Union is a freshwater lake entirely within the Seattle, Washington city limits and a major portion of the Lake Washington Ship Canal. Its easternmost point is the Ship Canal Bridge, which carries Interstate 5 over the eastern arm of the lake and separates Lake Union from Portage Bay. Lake Union is the namesake of the neighborhoods located on its east and west shores: Eastlake and Westlake, respectively. The northern shore of the lake is home to Gas Works Park. Notable features of the southern portion of the lake—collectively known as the South Lake Union district—include Lake Union Park, Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI), and the Center for Wooden Boats.
Rainbird was keen on Woon Soo. His face would be a reef-knot of bunched muscle. His furious hands would fill the gaps of his fractured, F.O.B. American English. His body would be like the kind of steel spring that tough guys use to strengthen their hands. Woon Soo would be a creature of tragic aggression. (p. 361)
American English, sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. American English is considered one of the most influential dialects of English globally, including on other varieties of English.
The main themes running through the novel are Tom Janeaway's parental love for his son, the bubble of the Internet boom, and the characters' mistaken identities. Janeaway himself is confused about his own British identity, reverting unconsciously into a strong Hungarian accent whenever he speaks to his mother over the telephone. Likewise, his wife mistakes him for being an academic bookworm, out of touch with reality as he contemplates his Victorian literature, whereas in fact he foresees the impending collapse of the over-inflated Internet ventures, and penetratingly compares Beth's Internet company boss, Steve Litvinof and his wife, to the brash Mr and Mrs Veneering in Dickens' Our Mutual Friend. Tom is even mistaken for a child abductor whilst mulling over his novel during his walk along the Slough. Shiva Ray is supposed to be a powerful international businessman interested in donating money to the UW creative writing programme but in fact he turns out to be a hoaxer – probably some out-of-work Silicon programmer with an enthusiasm for literature. Paul Nagel, the detective on the Hayley abduction case, it not quite the tough detective he appears when he reveals to Tom that he is a scriptwriter in his spare time. And even Chick, outwardly the hard-nosed Chinese immigrant seeking to make his fortune in America, reveals his soft side when he gives Finn a small puppy and laughs uproariously at Jack Lemmon's role in Some Like It Hot .
Some Like It Hot is a 1959 American black and white romantic comedy film set in 1929, directed and produced by Billy Wilder, starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon. The supporting cast includes George Raft, Pat O'Brien, Joe E. Brown, Joan Shawlee, and Nehemiah Persoff. The screenplay by Billy Wilder and I. A. L. Diamond is based on a screenplay by Robert Thoeren and Michael Logan from the French film Fanfare of Love. The film is about two musicians who dress in drag in order to escape from mafia gangsters whom they witnessed commit a crime inspired by the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre.
Jonathan Raban's title refers to a type of bird.
Waxwings are sleek, gregarious birds that migrate all around Europe and North America, living on insects in summer and berries in winter. Their only appearance in this book comes at the very end, when the sudden descent of a flock into his garden greatly excites Tom Janeway. He even calls his young son Finn to come and see. Finn is unimpressed. "Can I go get a cookie now?" he asks, while his father reaches for a bird book. When the scene closes, so does the novel.
Raban himself speaks about the title and its relevance to his theme in an interview:
" ... the book was actually named for the birds ... They're fascinating to watch. They descend, in a huge flock, on a berry tree and gorge themselves until the tree is stripped bare. Some of them get so drunk on the berries that they fall out of the trees, too heavy to fly. You see them lying on their backs, sozzled out of their tiny minds with their feet waving in the air. Then suddenly the flock recomposes and moves on to pillage the next tree. This, I thought, is the settlement of the West in miniature ... it seemed perfect as an analogy for what people were doing with Seattle during the dot-com movement: these birds, as it were, migrating from gold rush to gold rush, getting high, falling out of the tree, waving their feet around, getting up, moving on."
Waxwings, Jonathan Raban, ISBN 0-375-41008-2
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a novel by Mark Twain, first published in the United Kingdom in December 1884 and in the United States in February 1885. Commonly named among the Great American Novels, the work is among the first in major American literature to be written throughout in vernacular English, characterized by local color regionalism. It is told in the first person by Huckleberry "Huck" Finn, the narrator of two other Twain novels and a friend of Tom Sawyer. It is a direct sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
Jonathan Livingston Seagull, written by Richard Bach and illustrated by Russell Munson, is a fable in novella form about a seagull who is trying to learn about life and flight, and a homily about self-perfection. Bach wrote it as a series of short stories that were published in Flying magazine in the late 1960s. It was first published in book form in 1970, and by the end of 1972 over a million copies were in print. Reader's Digest published a condensed version, and the book reached the top of the New York Times Best Seller list, where it remained for 38 weeks. In 1972 and 1973, the book topped the Publishers Weekly list of bestselling novels in the United States.
The American robin is a migratory songbird of the true thrush genus and Turdidae, the wider thrush family. It is named after the European robin because of its reddish-orange breast, though the two species are not closely related, with the European robin belonging to the Old World flycatcher family. The American robin is widely distributed throughout North America, wintering from southern Canada to central Mexico and along the Pacific Coast. It is the state bird of Connecticut, Michigan, and Wisconsin. According to some sources, the American robin ranks behind only the red-winged blackbird as the most abundant extant land bird in North America. It has seven subspecies, but only T. m. confinis of Baja California Sur is particularly distinctive, with pale gray-brown underparts.
The waxwings are passerine birds classified in the genus Bombycilla. They are brown and pale grey with silky plumage, a black and white eyestripe, a crest, a square-cut tail and pointed wings. Some of the wing feathers have red tips, the resemblance of which to sealing wax gives these birds their common name. According to most authorities, this is the only genus placed in the family Bombycillidae, although Phainoptila is sometimes included. There are three species, the Bohemian waxwing, the Japanese waxwing and the cedar waxwing.
The Bohemian waxwing is a starling-sized passerine bird that breeds in the northern forests of Eurasia and North America. It has mainly buff-grey plumage, black face markings and a pointed crest. Its wings are patterned with white and bright yellow, and some feather tips have the red waxy appearance that give this species its English name. The three subspecies show only minor differences in appearance. Females are similar to males, although young birds are less well-marked and have few or no waxy wingtips. Although the Bohemian waxwing's range overlaps those of the cedar and Japanese waxwings, it is easily distinguished from them by size and plumage differences.
The cedar waxwing is a member of the family Bombycillidae or waxwing family of passerine birds. It is a medium-sized, mostly brown, gray, and yellow bird named for its wax-like wing tips. It is a native of North and Central America, breeding in open wooded areas in southern Canada and wintering in the southern half of the United States, Central America, and the far northwest of South America. Its diet includes cedar cones, fruit, and insects. The cedar waxwing is not endangered.
The palmchat is a small, long-tailed passerine bird, the only species in the genus Dulus and the family Dulidae. It is thought to be related to the waxwings, family Bombycillidae, and is sometimes classified with that group. The name reflects its strong association with palms for feeding, roosting and nesting.
The whooping crane, the tallest North American bird, is an endangered crane species named for its whooping sound. Along with the sandhill crane, it is one of only two crane species found in North America. The whooping crane's lifespan is estimated to be 22 to 24 years in the wild. After being pushed to the brink of extinction by unregulated hunting and loss of habitat to just 21 wild and two captive whooping cranes by 1941, conservation efforts have led to a limited recovery. The total number of cranes in the surviving migratory population, plus three reintroduced flocks and in captivity, now exceeds 800 birds.
The Carolina chickadee is a small passerine bird in the tit family Paridae. It is often placed in the genus Parus with most other tits, but mtDNA cytochrome b sequence data and morphology suggest that separating Poecile more adequately expresses these birds' relationships. The American Ornithologists' Union has been treating Poecile as distinct genus since 1998.
Jonathan Safran Foer is an American novelist. He is best known for his novels Everything Is Illuminated (2002), Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2005), and for his non-fiction work Eating Animals (2009). His most recent novel, Here I Am, was published in 2016. He teaches creative writing at New York University.
Joint Security Area is a 2000 South Korean mystery thriller film starring Lee Young-ae, Lee Byung-hun and Song Kang-ho. It was directed by Park Chan-wook and is based on the novel DMZ by Park Sang-yeon. The film, which was shot on location in South Korea, concerns an investigation into the circumstances surrounding a fatal shooting incident within the DMZ, the heavily fortified border that separates North and South Korea.
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Chung Do Kwan, created by Won Kuk Lee in 1944, is one of the first of nine schools or kwan teaching Tang Soo Do, later the school began to teach what came to be known as taekwondo. This style of Tang Soo Do is known for its overall power and emphasis on kicks to the head.
Little Green Men is a satirical novel by Christopher Buckley, first published in 1999. The novel follows a fictional "Inside the Beltway" talk-show host whose career and life is altered forever when he is abducted by aliens.
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Firestarter is a 1984 American science-fiction horror film based on Stephen King's 1980 novel of the same name. The plot concerns a young girl who develops pyrokinesis and the secret government agency known as the Shop which seeks to control her. The film was directed by Mark L. Lester, and stars David Keith, Drew Barrymore, Martin Sheen and George C. Scott. The film was shot in and around Wilmington, Chimney Rock, and Lake Lure, North Carolina.
Girlfriends is a 2009 South Korean romantic comedy film starring Kang Hye-jung, Han Chae-young, Huh E-jae and Bae Soo-bin.
Thomas Sawyer is the title character of the Mark Twain novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876). He appears in three other novels by Twain: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), Tom Sawyer Abroad (1894), and Tom Sawyer, Detective (1896).
Ha Sung-woon is a South Korean singer-songwriter. He is best known as a member of South Korean boy group Wanna One, as a member of boy group Hotshot, and currently as a solo artist. In 2019, he began his solo music career with his first extended play My Moment.
The Guardian is a British daily newspaper. It was founded in 1821 as The Manchester Guardian, and changed its name in 1959. Along with its sister papers The Observer and The Guardian Weekly, the Guardian is part of the Guardian Media Group, owned by the Scott Trust. The trust was created in 1936 to "secure the financial and editorial independence of the Guardian in perpetuity and to safeguard the journalistic freedom and liberal values of the Guardian free from commercial or political interference". The trust was converted into a limited company in 2008, with a constitution written so as to maintain for The Guardian the same protections as were built into the structure of the Scott Trust by its creators. Profits are reinvested in journalism rather than distributed to owners or shareholders.