The Ornithological Collection of Uwetsiageyv
a post-existential fantasy
A Flight of Fancy in Two Hundred and One Parts
by David J. Keffer
This novel follows Uwetsiageyv, heroine of The Portable Library of Hong Samud, at a much earlier age. She flees the orphanage where she was raised and falls into the company of two travelers, a crow and an owl, who have in common three attributes: (i) a shared mission, the nature of which they will not divulge, (ii) a dislike for each other, and (iii) a contempt for Uwetsiageyv. The narrative follows the winged girl as she island hops in the Sea of Birds, doing her best to avoid a prophecy in which she is expected to lay to rest the age-old enmity between the barn owl and the crow.
Structurally, The Ornithological Collection of Uwetsiageyv is by design an integration of two works of the twentieth century: Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis. In the former, Marco Polo regales Kublai Khan with descriptions, both profound and fanciful, of imagined cities that lie within the emperor's vast domain. In the latter, children explore the far flung islands of a scattered archipelago of Narnia in search of seven lords lost at the edge of the world. Thematically, The Ornithological Collection of Uwetsiageyv may also have a debt to both earlier works as it attempts to capture Calvino's poetry and neo-fantasist metaphysics with a more classical coming-of-age narrative and revelatory destination of Lewis.
On the Writing Process:
The Ornithological Collection of Uwetsiageyv was generated through an improvisational process rather than a compositional process. For interested parties, the International Journal of Exploratory Meta-Living has reprinted articles discussing a literature of non-idiomatic improvisation at length and in brief.
The Poison Pie Publishing House is a champion of post-existential fantasy. The Ornithological Collection of Uwetsiageyv is an example of such a work. Again, The International Journal of Exploratory Meta-Living has published an article discussing post-existential fantasy for interested readers.
The writing of The Ornithological Collection of Uwetsiageyv began on March 16, 2016 and was completed on December 21, 2016. The novel is subtitled, "A Flight of Fancy in Two Hundred and One Parts". The 201 parts, averaging about 400 words, were written over the course of two hundred days scattered through-out 2016.
Crow Faerie finger puppet by Ruth Marie Keffer. Digital manipulation by David J. Keffer. Original cosmological photograph courtesy of the Hubble Space Telescope through funding provided by the taxpayers of the United States of America.
length: 85,000 words
written: March 16, 2016-December 21, 2016, Knoxville, Tennessee