"With a birder's eye for detail, White takes us on [Adrian Mandrick's] painful, near-death descent...a shocking climax... White's life-affirming conclusion reminds us that endangered species aren't the only ones that need to change and adapt in order to survive."
—The New York Times Book Review
Fusing wry humor and family drama with elements of mystery and environmental adventure, The Life List of Adrian Mandrick follows a self-destructive top-level birder on a convoluted journey toward grace. With a compressed narrative style, and themes as urgent as its pace, it explores the ways we humans lose sight of what’s most essential in the face of our own fears:
Anesthesiologist Adrian Mandrick, addicted to the very pain medication he prescribes, is filled with contradictory impulses. He wants to be a good husband to his wife, a good father to his children, to forgive the crime his once-beloved mother committed and the long-lost father who accused her. But his pills get in the way, and all he wants to think about is his life list—that all-encompassing chronicle of 863 bird species he’s spotted and verified. When a search for an extremely rare Ivory-billed Woodpecker—the same bird he and his mother believed they spotted in the fondest memory from his childhood—leaves him stranded in the thick swamplands of Florida’s panhandle, Adrian will be forced to confront his tumultuous past and present failures and question what is really important in his life.
The book won the 2020 Indiana Authors Award for Fiction ,was named one of the Chicago Review's most anticipated fiction books of 2018, and was runner-up for the Faulkner Society's Gold Medal for Novel. Please see Media Page for complete reviews.
"[An] intense, poignant debut... This
engaging, unusual novel successfully
combines the best elements of a
psychological portrait, a travel
adventure, and a suspenseful mystery."
—Library Journal (starred review)
"An immensely affecting observation of human nature... Stunningly honest."
—Chicago Review of Books
"Beautiful and fascinating...The Life List of Adrian Mandrick is a riveting and heart-rending book about birds, love, and the fleeting unknown.”
—Sy Montgomery, New York Times bestselling author of The Soul of an Octopus
"The Life List of Adrian Mandrick is a poignant story of a man whose epic search for glory forces him to face his own human failures, all set against the backdrop of a stunning, natural world that there's still time to save."
—Courtney Maum, author of Touch and I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You
"Stunning and lyrical, The Life List of Adrian Mandrick will make you want to both slow down to savor every elegant sentence and tear through for the heart-pounding plot—I couldn’t put it down. A masterful debut from a profound talent.”—Lisa Duffy, author of The Salt House
“The Life List of Adrian Mandrick is impossible to put down: it’s dramatic and fast-paced on every page, but still a poignant and intense look at a man and family reaching breaking point.” — Claire Fuller, author of Swimming Lessons and Our Endless Numbered Days
"Although a stellar work of literary fiction, at its heart, the book also is a plea for environmental awareness and a call to action to reverse the dangers our planet is facing.”—The Faulkner Society
“Read The Life List of Adrian Mandrick. Read it because it is tender and raw, beautiful and ultimately deeply moving. Don’t read it because of the blurb. Read it because it will stay with you.”—John Kenney, author of Truth In Advertising and winner of the 2014 Thurber Prize
“ Far from an everyday bird book, The Life List of Adrian Mandrick takes our hobby as the starting point for a thoughtful look at how memory and the truth can be manipulated and sometimes ultimately restored."—Vermilion Flycatcher