owering has a way of presenting his life, an ease of being, that makes A Magpie Life so enjoyable. He doesn't ramble off an incoherent who's who or brag endlessly about his awards and accolades. Instead, he reminisces about the finer points of life, the small pockets of memory which make each of us unique.
Reading A Magpie Life evokes the image of cozying up in an armchair in Bowering's study, the fireplace warming the room once chilled by damp coastal weather, and listening to stories. Stories about growing up. Stories about a life of appreciated pleasures, interesting places, and wonderful companions.
A Magpie Life begins with an "Alphabiography", an A-Z of key ideas, places, and people in Bowering's life. Each segment is less than a few pages long, yet gives us a piece of narrative. Together, these A-Z pieces present us with an idea of what things have made the greatest impression on him.
Some general topics he covers are "Growing a Writer", "Writing Baseball", "The Sixties" and "Impersonating a Writer", among others. Let's put it this way: I don't like baseball, in any way, shape, or form - yet I liked reading Bowering talk about it. I'd be willing to bet that he could make anything interesting.
Bowering comes across as a friendly fellow with one hell of a sense of humour. A Magpie Life shows us that Bowering knows what he likes, and isn't afraid to tell you why. It is this confidence in life (not arrogance) that makes him an appealing figure. You feel like you could learn a thing or two from a character like this.
published by key porter books