“The majestic ivory-billed woodpecker, called the Lord God Bird for its exalted beauty and dazzling presence, was believed to be extinct until a 2004 sighting in Arkansas. Ornithologists from Cornell University rushed to the scene, but the bird never appeared again. In his first novel, songwriter and playwright Gallant offers an astutely imagined tale about why this large, resplendent bird might make itself known to only one man, a thoughtful, observant widower tentatively emerging from grief as he cares meditatively for his cows and pigs on his small Arkansas farm. He is sustained by his hands-on life, his love for nature, and his inherited gift for building finely crafted wooden canoes. He is paddling in just such a vessel when he sees the ivory-billed woodpecker and the bird sees him. Gallant illuminates the minds of bird and man, each versed in loss, as scientists flock to the woods. The man knows that the bird can revitalize his struggling community, but he also knows, as does the bird, what is truly worth saving. Gallant’s ruminative, profoundly affecting novel summons reverence for all life.”

— Donna Seaman