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3.23  ·  Rating details ·  1,818 Ratings  ·  418 Reviews
A great, hilarious new voice in fiction: the poignant, all-too-human recollections of an affable bird researcher in the Indiana backwater as he goes through a disastrous yet heartening love affair with the place and its people.
Nathan Lochmueller studies birds, earning just enough money to live on. He drives a glitter-festooned truck, the Gypsy Moth, and he is in love with
ebook, 224 pages
Published April 23rd 2013 by Vintage (first published January 1st 2013)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Apr 22, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If only you could judge a book by its cover. This is a beautiful looking book and some of the writing is really excellent but I found the whole very disappointing. It is as if a loose collection of creative writing project scraps have been lazily chucked into a lovely cover and called a book. Promisingly sketched characters begin to appear then drop out of sight without leaving a ripple. Coming of age scenes are plucked from a best-of collection that seems to stagger around era and genre like a ...more
Jan 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: n-america, literary
Let me get this out of the way: I know nothing about birds and am primarily concerned with them as a decorative motiv. I also know nothing about Indiana, other than where it roughly falls on the map (hoping my non-US passport can provide a partial excuse for my ignorance). Well, let me rephrase that: now that I have read this book, I do know something about birds and Indiana, in fact, a lot more that I have ever expected to know. What I'm trying to say is, I picked up this book because of a very ...more
Apr 27, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2013
I'm not sure that this book ever had a plot... the narrator (and the author, I suppose, by proxy) was self-involved and each chapter seemed more like a vignette than part of the engine moving this book forward. There's no crime in chapters as vignettes, but the summary on the back makes it seem like there will be more than a snapshot of various time points in the narrator's life - moving back and forward in time. I was a little bored for most of the book and I still can't tell if the author love ...more
Apr 29, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I expected a lot, largely because the first page was really intriguing and I liked the authors voice. Unfortunately, as the tale went along, I wasn't really pulled into it. I guess lately I've been spoiled by more compelling works like A Handmaids Tale and Bel Canto which have more meaning (from my estimation) and so this book was just a little on the light for me. The plot wasn't compelling, and his relationship with Lola seemed stupid and made me think a lot less of the protagonist. A lot of ...more
Jan 27, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book really had no plot to speak of. The narrator Nathan seemed to tell disjointed stories about his past and his present situation.
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
Brian Kimberling's debut novel, Snapper, features thirteen chapters that are really loosely connected stories chronicling Nathan Lochmueller's maturation into adulthood. Nathan grew up in southern Indiana (as did author Kimberling). After graduating with a philosophy degree, he accepts a job as a songbird field researcher. Nathan spends his time hiking through the woods locating songbirds, their nests, and tracking them. During this time period Nathan falls in love with Lola.

Nathan has a love/ha
Kasa Cotugno
Brian Kimberling calls on his experience as a professional birdwatcher to create the framework for his inventive first novel. To be honest, I'd never heard of birdwatching as a profession, but as Nathan, the central character shows, there is more to it than meets the eye. He starts out doing it as a student, but his observation of migratory songbirds and collection of information using triangulation techniques to calibrate the height of bald eagles' nests is fed into a data bank that fills guide ...more
Becky Loader
Ho-hum. Another young male author who wrote about his college years and how he found humble employment as a professional bird watcher while he was waiting to find himself. Ho-hum.
Nathan Lochmueller is a birdwatcher; it is not every day you can build a career around doing something you love. Snapper charts the love affair that Nathan has with bird watching and the seamlessly unobtainable Lola. This is a coming of age, and quite possibly a semi-autobiographical, novel set in rural Indiana, ‘the bastard son of the Midwest’.

This is a bookclub book so it will be a little tricky reviewing this without some of the others’ insights being mixed in with mine. Normally I write a re
Jan 15, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This started out with a lot of promise. Socially inept middle-aged ornithologist teams with with college student as they pursue birds for a state survey over the summer.

The narrative doesn't stay on that path however, and soon becomes less interesting. Written entirely in the first person, the book is a series of mostly random encounters with odd people. The writing is fine and there's levity thrown in, but the story reads like a bunch of diary entries. Compelling it isn't, and exactly what the
Feb 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, americana
People say this is a book about bird watching but aside from some interesting bits about birds, it's mostly about a young man's experiences living amidst the odd combination of unsophisticated Hoosiers and college types that define his Evansville, Indiana, home. Early adventures in the woods cement his love of nature and lead to his job as ornithology research assistant, that has him sitting in blinds in trees for hours on end. But the book is hardly a document of arboreal daydreaming. Motley fr ...more
Jun 30, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, audiobook
Big disappointment. I guess I was expecting something along the lines of the movie "The Big Year" - more about birding. The lead character is a bird researcher in Indiana for only the first part of the book, but it meanders aimlessly into disjointed incidents in his life and goes no where. He is also very insulting to Indiana, a state I am quite fond of. And what a strange ending - you think he is going to wrap things up with some feel-good nostalgia, but instead it just stops. Kimberling is not ...more
Jun 24, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I expected more about bird watching than about frat boy-type experiences. The book was mildly entertaining, especially about poking fun at podunk Indiana (I'm a Hoosier), but it certainly did not live up to the hype. Nathan, the main character, was good at self-deprecation, but that only goes so far to keep a reader's attention. The book seemed to be more focused on his obsession with Lola, a more than free-spirited woman whose attention he couldn't seem to garner for more than a day here or the ...more
Feb 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: elle
[Placeholder till I get back from the spa.]

When I read the title and description, I thought to myself, "No way was this inspired by anything but Howard Norman's The Bird Artist." There are similarities -- the fixation on birds, the elusive redheaded love interest, the near-indifference to practical matters -- but also enough differences to make this book feel certainly inspired by, but never an imitation of Mr Norman's work. The greatest difference, obviously, is in the vast amount of love dealt
Jul 22, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a debut novel from newcomer Brian Kimberling who was born and bred in rural Indiana. This book is about Nathan Lochmueller and revolves around his love/ hate relationship with his native state and his forlorn love for flibbertigibbet red head of his dreams - Lola. He spends a great time of the book detailing his feelings for her and how both the feelings and the people involved actually mature.

He is also a professional bird watcher for part of the novel until he becomes an operative at a
Enrique Ramirez
Sep 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Before you can form the words Winesburg, Ohio or Spoon River Anthology, you will soon find yourself remembering Alison Anders' or David O. Russell's earliest work in Snapper, Brian Kimberling's entertaining debut, a novel that is, in essence, a collection of vignettes taking place in southern Indiana. Kimberling demonstrates an intense fascination with the local, and with the local as a kind of normative universe, as he conjures the cadences and rhythms of life in the Hoosier State through the p ...more
Jennifer Chapman
Sep 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this collection of linked fiction -- each chapter is a self-contained story focused on the same main character (Nathan), and the story moves chronologically, though there are gaps in the time sequence. It's engaging, funny, and a must read if you have any association with Indiana (I don't, but if you know the places he's writing about, it will be even harder to put down). Nathan is an ornithologist, but the real story is the trajectory of his obsession with a beautiful and flighty woman ...more
Nancy MacKneson
Based on the reviews of others I had high hopes for this book. Unfortunately, tried as I might to enjoy it I was truly happy when I reached the last page!

The biggest weakness with this book is the lack of a plot. It was more a rambling soliloquy from someone who thought their random life experiences were more important and interesting then they really were.

I also found the character development lacking. Characters started out interesting but then just withered away. One of the most intriguing c
Aug 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is very different than what I usually read & it's kind of outside the realm of what we've been reading in our book group. I wasn't sure at a few points--it was hard to keep the thread going through what felt like some very random stories--but then Kimberling just jammed on it at the end. Sorry library copy, but I was dog-earing most of the last 15 pages. I found it totally redeeming--a refreshingly short novel about the complications of living in & being from the midwest. It's about ...more
Sep 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recommended
Wonderful, near-perfect stories about one man's life, all told in the first person. Fun, funny, insightful, and brilliantly-written. One of my favorite books in a long time. So much fun.
Miss Sophie
This was such a lovely book. It felt cosy and relaxed and like the perfect thing to read on a hot summer's day. It follows the life of a guy called Nathan who earns a bit of money watching birds while he's a student. And that's basically what it is - different episodes from Nathan's life strung together with beautiful words and and vivid atmosphere.
It felt a lot like sitting down with someone over drinks and listening to him telling you his life story. And, just like real life, not everything t
Jul 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book a lot. It was quiet and funny and reminded me of talking to an interesting friend. Also, though, I really like birds.
May 03, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to like this book. As an Indiana native, as someone who spent many years living in Evansville and attended the university where the author's father teaches, and who has visited the most rural portions of the state, I was simply thrilled that someone had finally written a mainstream, widely-distributed novel about my home state. Unfortunately, however, as is often the case, the hopes I had foolishly pinned on this book quickly proved to be misguided. From the beginning, something ...more
Apr 07, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I write a blog called "The Wannabe Birder." It's surprising, given the modest title and my equally modest qualifications, how many offers of review copies of books that gets me.
I ignore most of them, but I accepted the offer of "Snapper."
Not only was there a connection to birdwatching, but the publicist promised it would be hilarious. And it was set in southern Indiana.
I am not from Indiana, but I lived there long enough that it feels like one of my homes. It should be said, however, that I spen
Bird researcher, Nathan Lochmueller, works in a square mile of forest in the backwaters of Indiana. His job is to map the territory, record details of the local bird population and report on their habits, antics and happenings. In the first chapter we meet Gerald, a sad, lonely, genius ornithologist working at Indiana University and the person who offers Nathan this unusual job. The two first meet through the enigmatic Lola, the love of Nathan’s life and a free spirited beauty who finds it diffi ...more
Jun 26, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While listening to NPR's summer book recommendations I found my curiousity piqued by the mention of a book set in my hometown of Bloomington, Indiana. Although I moved away a decade ago I still find myself getting teary eyed when I listen to John Cougar Mellancamp, when I think of beautiful deciduous forests, and when I crave that college town experience. So naturally this book called to me. When I picked it up I was shocked to discover that the author looks familiar. It's entirely possible that ...more
Mar 09, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, memoir, birds, humor
Snapper by Brian Kimberling is a fictional memoir of sorts, about a young man who is in love with a free spirited woman who won’t commit to him and who monitors birds for the government in the woodlands of Indiana. I am a huge bird fan so I really wanted to like this book, but I didn’t, not really.

The narrator seems to be trying to be positive about Indiana while shedding light on its shortcomings, but it really comes across as anti-Indiana. (For example, “if Indiana is the bastard son of the M
Kristine Brancolini
I'm sure that my obsession with Snapper by Brian Kimberling has something to do with my background. I was born near Los Angeles but attended graduate school at Indiana University - Bloomington and lived there most of my adult life. Kimberling was born in Evansville, and like his protagonist Nathan Lochmueller graduated from Indiana University and worked as a birdwatcher (actually, more of a census-taker) in and around Bloomington. Kimberling lives in England, but like me, he probably tears up th ...more
Warren-Newport Public Library
Nathan Lochmueller is a professional bird tracker, an ornithologist. The book is fiction although written in the form of a memoir, each chapter is a story or vignettes. As we learn about Nathan’s life he relates a series of tales about his friends, his adventures, growing up in Indiana and his love of a mysterious women names Lola. His job requires keeping precise records about specific bird populations in the Hoosier National Forest and is the backdrop to a somewhat rambling account of his high ...more
May 20, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor
Many thanks to my daughter who gave me this debut novel -- a humorous coming-of-age story set in southern Indiana, precisely the place that I came of age. The fictional Nathan (and the author) grew up right in my backyard, so to speak (though several decades later), and the delight of knowing every little town, park, and wide-spot-in-the-road mentioned in the story was a novelty all in itself. (Evansville -- right smack on the Ohio river -- is the town in question, in case you're wondering, thou ...more
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Fiction Lover's B...: * Snapper, by Brian Kimberling 1 4 Sep 10, 2013 04:51AM  
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Brian Kimberling grew up in Evansville, Indiana, and graduated from Indiana University. As a student he was involved in a major study of songbirds, an experience central to his first novel, Snapper. Subsequently he taught English in the Czech Republic, Mexico, and Turkey. He now lives in England with his wife and son.

Snapper, which won the inaugural Janklow & Nesbit Bath Spa Prize, will be pub
More about Brian Kimberling...

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“A list of birds seen on a given day is also a form of prayer, a thanksgiving for being alive at a certain time and place. Posting that list online is a 21st-century form of a votive offering.” 6 likes
“From remote and sparsely populated Vermont, Indiana seemed hopeless; a collection of turtle-shooting subliterates--people opposed to evolution, pluralism, and poetry.

And yet. Those leaves.”
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