"CAGES," Sylvia Torti, Schaffner Press, $16.95, 296 pages (f)
"Cages" is a new novel by Miguel Marmol Prize-winning author and Utah resident Sylvia Torti. It starts as two dedicated neurologists in Salt Lake City work to unlock the secrets of human memory by studying song birds. All is going well until a new female assistant starts working at the lab.
Suddenly, the lab director David and his colleague Anton find themselves competing for more than research results. Both men find they are attracted to Rebecca as she goes about her duties in the lab. This attraction stirs old memories of lost relationships in both David and Anton and causes them to re-examine their human interactions.
Just when their experiments with muting song birds is starting to produce exciting results, a new challenge creates more loss and threatens to destroy the fragile connection they have developed while working side by side in the lab.
At its heart, "Cages" is a story about humans and how they communicate, but it also contains a great deal of information about how birds communicate as the author details her characters' research.
The author also draws subtle comparisons between the behavior of the male and female song birds and her human characters, as the two neurologists explore their different relationships with the birds and Rebecca, the female lab assistant.
Readers looking for a fast-paced novel full of adventure may want to look elsewhere. This novel is a slow-moving story with limited characters and very little action. However, it does tell an interesting story and gives a detailed, almost textbook look at how song birds communicate.
This book is meant for mature readers. It contains descriptions of sexual situations and mature themes.
If you go
What: Sylvia Torti book signing
When: Thursday, May 25, 7 p.m.
Where: Tracy Aviary, 589 1300 South
Steve Larson is one of the founders of Information Alliance, a Utah-based data collection company. He serves as president of IA in addition to serving on several nonprofit boards. Steve spends his free time writing and training for marathons.