The Last of the Bird People
This short but intriguing novel, written by a cultural historian, blurs the lines of genre to create a thought-provoking speculative tale. It is presented as archival evidence relating to the 1928 disappearance of an anthropologist, in the form of a deposition given by an eccentric old man. Jon Barking Fox claims to be the last of the Bird People, a mixed-race tribe who had lived in seclusion in the Swift River Valley of Massachusetts, isolated from modern civilization, until a public works project exposed them to outside threats. The missing anthropologist, known to the Bird People as Tracker, had offered to lead them to an equally secluded place (the Florida Everglades) where they could live unmolested and preserve their way of life. But despite Tracker’s attempts to bridge the gap between cultures, the modern world interfered with tragic results.
The Last of the Bird People is an unusual story that gives the reader a look at our world through the eyes of the past. Since it is written in the voice of Jon Barking Fox, you may need some time to engage with the writing style, but after that the pace keeps the pages turning. If you’re looking for something a little different, The Last of the Bird People may be an interesting choice.