About A Thousand Paper Birds
After the sudden death of his wife, Audrey, Jonah sits on a bench in Kew Gardens, trying to reassemble the shattered pieces of his life.
Chloe, shaven-headed and abrasive, finds solace in the origami she meticulously folds. But when she meets Jonah, her carefully constructed defences threaten to fall.
Milly, a child quick to laugh, freely roams Kew, finding beauty everywhere she goes. But where is her mother and where does she go when the gardens are closed?
Harry's purpose is to save plants from extinction. Quiet and enigmatic, he longs for something – or someone – who will root him more firmly to the earth.
Audrey links these strangers together. As the mystery of her death unravels, the characters journey through the seasons to learn that stories, like paper, can be refolded and reformed. Haunted by songs and origami birds, this novel is a love letter to a garden and a hymn to lost things.
My review of A Thousand Paper Birds
This book, oh this beautiful book. From the sublime cover right through to the final words, my heart just ached. I honestly don't know how I can do this book the justice that it truly deserves with my bumbling review, but I'll do my very best.
The novel revolves around Audrey, a woman who dies suddenly. I honestly don't think I have ever read such raw, heartfelt and pure emotion before in such a poetic way upon the page, words that are tightly connected to the imagery, sights and smells of Kew Gardens. It is these gardens that unite all of the characters in this moving story. Those of Jonah, Audrey's husband, Chloe who befriends Jonah, Harry a park keeper and Emily, a little girl who is always seen at the gardens alone. All of these characters have their own unique story to tell, that help us to learn more about Audrey and what happened to her. The way that these stories weave themselves together is breathtaking and incredibly clever.
Kew really is at the heart of this novel. I have only ever visited the gardens once, and that was over ten years ago. But I remember being absolutely blown over by its beauty and tranquility. The author has managed to capture the essence of Kew and I think that even if you have never been there, you really will get a vivid depiction of what it is like to slowly wander around the grounds.
I can't really say much more without giving any spoilers away. I just wanted to share how magical this book is and of how it deals so beautifully with loss and grief. From the book's blurb you may be fooled into thinking that the novel is a somewhat depressing read, but this book is so full of hope, beauty and tells us how we are as humans, dealing with love, loss and relationships.
I must also just mention the beginning of the novel. After reading the first few pages I knew that I would love this book. It quite literally took my breath away. I also had to put the book down for a little while before continuing to read. This was because the words were so powerful, so raw, the image that was created brought a tear to my eye. It is I feel, one of the most powerful openings to a book I have ever read.
A Thousand Paper Birds is a stunningly beautiful, poignant and compelling read. My heart ached while reading it. I just felt so privileged to be able to gain insight into these characters lives, it really was a most intimate read. This is a book that I just know I will read again and again. I absolutely adore this book.
A Thousand Paper Birds, published by Bloomsbury Publishing on 15 June 2017 can be found on Amazon here.
With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an Advanced Review Copy.