The Birds and Self

I spent a large portion of my focus on Kind One considering identity and how identity factored into the novel. At first glance The Avian Gospels may not be as blatantly involved with discerning identity as Kind One, however, it appears to me that establishing a proper identity is one of the important focuses of Adam Novy’s novel.

Birds, or animals of the Avian variety, are essential to this novel. But why? Birds create and identity for Morgan in a world so confused that Hungary and parts of the United States are located next to one another. Similarly, they take away an identity. Because of the connection to the birds that Morgan and his father hold they are referred to as The Bird Man and Boy. For Zvominir, the father, this seems to act as a removal of identity. Zvominir chooses to live life “conventionally” (in the sense of the novel), while Morgan accepts the title of Bird Boy happily. Morgan finds his identity to be within the birds, a “group” who protect and understand him in a way that others do not.

Similarly, the two are constantly referred to as Gypsys. Zvominir corrects those who claim them as Gypsys and states that they, instead, are Swedes. While this is a possibility due to Sweden’s odd proximity in this geographically confused world – the reader is often reminded that the two men (and the deceased mother) appear to be Gyspys. They live like Gypsys. And, Zvominir purposefully named his son Morgan to sound less like a Gypsy name. Perhaps they are truly Swedes – or, perhaps, they are avoiding an identity that would prove unpleasant to them.


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