Man with a Seagull on His Head

by Harriet Paige (Author)
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Linked by an unlikely accident, four strangers characters grapple with loneliness, memory, and the mysteries of art.

Ray Eccles is a man who dislikes unpredictability and the messiness of social interaction, to such extent that his co-workers’ habit of gathering around the Xerox machine it’s his job to run makes even that regular task unbearable. When a misunderstanding leads to unexpected time off from work, Ray takes a day trip to nearby East Beach on what happens to be his fortieth birthday. As he gazes at the sea, a distant woman turns to face him—and a seagull falls from the sky, knocking him unconscious. He awakens compelled to paint her image, using whatever materials come to hand: jam, ketchup, even the walls of his home.

Enter George and Grace Zoob, collectors of Outsider Art, whose endorsement rockets Ray to fame in the art world and beyond. Soon even small-town newspapers are covering his work—which is how Jennifer, the woman on the beach, discovers she’s the sole subject of the paintings that have set the world on fire, leading her to wonder if a man she’s never met is the only person who has ever really seen her.

Lyrical, elegant and quietly profound, Harriet Paige’s Man With a Seagull on His Head captures the small, shared moments where our lives overlap, making artistry out of the everyday.

Publication date
October 09, 2018
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