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BOOK REVIEW - RICHARD BACH JONATHON LIVINGSTONE SEAGULL. 1970 Harper Collins 

 

A short mystical Aesopian fable of extraordinary beauty. Jonathon Livingston Seagull is a seabird that loves to fly. Other seagulls are humorous puritanical and pragmatic. To them flight is a functional ability to be used only when they need to get fish to eat, or escape from danger. Jonathon is different. To him, flight is an aesthetic pursuit, he flies for fun, and for the sheer joy of being able to soar and swoop and loop. He is despised for this, but he shows signs of encouraging younger seagulls to follow his example, for which he is ostracized. With a group of cult like followers, he over-asserts himself, and appears to die. The birds are heart-broken and his vanishing is seen as proof of the folly of flight that is non-essential, but suddenly, Jonathon returns, resurrected, (he really had died). He has taken flight to a whole new level, and now sees it as a duty to educate the flock. Soon, he has seagulls everywhere flying as an expression of the sheer joy of being able to do so. His work in our world is finally done, so he simply flies away, the book is a study of the gift of life and a teaching for us to make the best we can in life of the miracle that is our own being. The book comes with lovely photographs of seagulls in flight. It is a book to cherish, and its portable size means many people carry it around, with the reverence of a Gospel. A film was made of the story, but it was a commercial disaster, leaving only the soundtrack by Neil Diamond memorable. The book remains one of the nicest, and most uplifting works of the twentieth century. It is a story, which on paper sounds stupid, but Back uses the language with such poetic precision as to make it work on many levels. http://seekers.100megs6.com/Gull.htm

 

Copyright. Arthur Chappell

                                   

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