“Cry of an Osprey” by Angie Vancise is, in short, an emotional roller-coaster. Although the main topic seems to be an alternative love story, this is only the backdrop for a bigger picture to which each reader can relate to a certain degree. It is a story about family ties, solidarity and losing a loved one.
At the center of the story stands Jax Vanbeerman who only at the age of 48 suffers a stroke. This is the trigger that unites a dispersed family, a current and a former lover and many more people to share a couple of agonizing days in close quarters. At which point there is a temporal bifurcation, on one hand we are in the present next to Jax in the hospital together with the loved ones, but also in the past, reliving memories of the good old days. It is in this process of remembrance that regret creeps in as characters wonder about alternate decisions and actions, about what could have been. In fact, as Jax fades away from the living, he grows ever stronger in the hearts and memories of the people who loved him. Perhaps this is the most important lesson of the book.
One of the interesting stylistic features of the novel is the approach the author takes. She allows the readers to learn about Jax only through other characters; his sister Amelia and former lover Ben. Each chapter is presented from the perspective of one or the other as we gradually get more familiar and close to them. Jax represents the overlap between two very different people and stories; it is interesting to explore the different sides of him, but also the constants in his character from the viewpoint of the most important people in his life.
The book should appeal to a large audience especially since the story is told from the viewpoint of both genders, but most of all because of the issues it covers. It is about much more than alternative lifestyle, the LGBT community and their struggle, it reaches toward the colorful span of human relationships, hardships, and solidarity. Nevertheless, it must be said that the novel does contain some explicit content and language therefore it is not appropriate for readers of all ages. All in all, Angie Vancise’s debut novel “Cry of an Osprey” is a very personal piece with a strong gravitational pull. There are many noteworthy aspects to mention, but above all it is the sincerity and vulnerability that seduces the reader and makes him/her resonate with the characters. Also, the book cover is painted by the author herself wrapping her writing into a purple haze.