Literature: Wizard of the Pigeons

On the far western shore of a northern continent, there was once a harbour city called Seattle. It did not have much of a reputation for sunshine and beaches, but it did have plenty of rain, and the folk who lived there were wont to call it 'the Emerald City' for the greenness of its foliage. And the other thing it boasted was a great friendliness that fell upon strangers like its rain, but with more warmth. And in that city, there dwelt a wizard.

Wizard of the Pigeons is an Urban Fantasy novel written by Megan Lindholm and published in 1986. The protagonist is a wizard, one of several people living on the fringes of society in Seattle with one foot in the world of magic. He is called Wizard: he doesn't remember who he was before. One thing he does remember is that there are rules: he must never have more than a dollar in his pocket, must remain celibate, and he must feed and protect the pigeons.

As the novel progresses, Wizard is called on to face a shadowy menace connected to the past he has forgotten.

This novel provides examples of:

  • ...And That Little Girl Was Me: One of Wizard's colleagues has a tendency to convey information like this. At one point, she tells him a story about a group of boys, and at the end it turns out he was one of the characters in the story (although not the one he was expecting). Later, she tells him a story about a little girl, and he sarcastically predicts the "And That Little Girl Was Me" ending (and is so busy being a smartass that he neglects to actually think about why he's been told the story, and fails to learn anything from it). There's also a point where she tells him an anecdote in first person, but ends by saying that it didn't actually happen to her; she just told it that way because that's how the story is traditionally told.
  • Blue-Collar Warlock: Wizard lives on the fringes of society amongst the street people, and was soldier (implictly serving in Vietnam) before becoming a wizard.
  • Conditional Powers: Wizard and his colleagues each have a condition on which their powers depend. Some of Wizard's troubles in the book result from him forgetting which of the rules he lives by is the condition, and which are just rules he's given himself.
  • His Name Really Is Barkeep: Wizard.
  • Homeless Pigeon Person: Wizard.
  • Lethal Harmless Powers: Summoning pigeons for feeding time seems harmless enough, right? Wizard calls them and commands them to feed on the villain.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: It is not always clear whether an event is genuine magic or just misapprehension or coincidence.