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Dirty Birds
By (author): Morgan Murray
9781550818079 Paperback, Trade English General Trade FICTION / Humorous / General Jun 29, 2020
$22.95 CAD
Forthcoming 4.25 x 6.88 in | 600 gr 432 pages Breakwater Books Ltd Breakwater Books
In late 2008, as the world’s economy crumbles and Barack Obama ascends to the White House, the remarkably unremarkable Milton Ontario – not to be confused with Milton, Ontario – leaves his parents’ basement in Middle-of-Nowhere, Saskatchewan, and sets forth to find fame, fortune, and love in the Euro-lite electric sexuality of Montreal; to bask in the endless twenty-something Millennial adolescence of the Plateau; to escape the infinite flatness of Saskatchewan and find his messiah – Leonard Cohen. Hilariously ironic and irreverent, in Dirty Birds, Morgan Murray generates a quest novel for the twenty-first century—a coming-of-age, rom-com, crime-farce thriller—where a hero’s greatest foe is his own crippling mediocrity as he seeks purpose in art, money, power, crime, and sleeping in all day.

Morgan Murray was born and raised on a farm near the same west-central Alberta village as figure-skating legend Kurt Browning (Caroline). He now lives, works, plays, writes, and builds all sorts of crooked furniture in Cape Breton. In between, he has been a professional schemer, a farmer, a rancher, a roustabout, a secretary, a reporter, a designer, a Tweeter, and a student in St. John’s, Calgary, Prague, Montreal, Chicoutimi, and Paris. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Canadian Studies from the University of Calgary, a Certificate in Central and Eastern European Studies from the University of Economics, Prague, a Master of Philosophy in Humanities from Memorial University of Newfoundland, and a participation ribbon for beef-calf showmanship (incomplete) from the Little Britches 4-H Club.

“Fortune or misfortune? Fate or coincidence? Genius or idiocy? Ah, the polarity that runs rampant throughout this highly entertaining and adventurous love story where passion keeps sprinting headlong into reality, learning nothing from the crashes. I love this amusing story, which reminds me a lot of the one time I met Leonard Cohen, whom I thought was very, very nice?” - Vish Khanna, Kreative Kontrol

“In Dirty Birds Morgan Murray has magnificently created one of my favourite narrative perspectives: the diffident anti-hero. This book is Tom Robbins, with grotesquely entertaining characters, dancing between sex and death, sometimes in the same scene. It’s John Irving with a protagonist that draws attention to just how much better everyone else is at everything. And it’s Kurt Vonnegut, carrying you through a quilt of strange scenes that leap from tumble weed to high-speed chase in a single page and have you contemplating the meaning of life. It’s pulls you out of your own world where you are probably doing something interesting and important, and transports you to nowhere-Saskatchewan, where you are hanging off every word of the terrible poetry of an entirely average man-child. It would be a coming of age story, except Milton barely advances. But in that way it is so real, and you love him anyway, rooting for him to become someone you can be proud of. I LOVED this book, and I kind of want a sequel, and the idea of a sequel about a guy who’s arguably learned nothing is maybe a TERRIBLE idea and that makes me love this book even more.” - Jenny Mitchell, Bird City and CFRU Radio, Guelph

“Canadians rejoice! Our Vonnegut has finally arrived! Morgan Murray’s debut is a great, brawling, sprawling, muscular glory of a story. Funny, dark, and wholly original.” - Will Ferguson, winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize

"One of the most fun and dynamic aspects of the book is Morgan’s facility with different dialogues. These include, but are not limited to, the matrix of the prairie junior hockey structure, the non-stop conversation of a Newfoundland taxi driver, academic papers, police files, and, most prominently, Milton’s poetry. These are often decoded and/or annotated in footnotes, a comedic amplification that’s an effective and refreshing device in this fiction. There’s work and care in the writing; the experiences, however foolish, feel earned. At the same time it’s kinetic: the words, like birds, take flight." - Joan Sullivan, The Telegram

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