Brian Kimberling’s deftly rendered debut novel Snapper is set in his native Indiana, also known as the Hoosier state. Or, as our western neighbor is described early in the book, “Indiana is rural, agricultural, and surrounded by bully states with great confidence in their own sophistication.” Take note, Buckeyes: We’re sophisticated bullies.
The narrative centers on Nathan Lochmueller, a recent Indiana University graduate who accidentally finds work at his alma mater as a songbird researcher. Nathan spends his days watching birds with his boss, Gerard (“a caricature of an ornithologist”), and his nights pining for Lola, a mysterious free spirit who gives him a bowie knife in case he runs into “a bear or some ninjas.”
Multiple curious characters move in and out of Nathan’s life — including a restaurateur named “Fast Eddie” who patents something called “Thong Thursdays” — none of which have as strong a pull as the Hoosier state’s often beautiful backwoods environs.
Kimberling, himself a former “professional birdwatcher” in Southern Indiana, discusses Snapper at Joseph-Beth Booksellers. Noon. Free. 2692 Madison Road, Rookwood Pavilion, Norwood, 513-396-8960, josephbeth.com.