28 May 2018

A Thousand Paper Birds by Tor Udall


In this exquisite novel, place becomes a primary character.


Set in and around Kew gardens, this novel explores what it means to be left behind when someone - maybe the most important someone - dies. So it is a book about grief but its also a wonderful discovery of all the other things that arise at that time. Plus, there are some fantastic characters that all converge on Kew - for their own reasons. There is feisty Chloe finding solace in her origami creations, recently widowed Jonah who visits the gardens to remember his wife, Harry the gardener who, among other things, takes us on a tour of the most spectacular parts of Kew and young Milly, who seems to be missing parts of her family.

Udall writes beautifully and I enjoyed the lyrical nature of the novel and found the prose to be well suited to the story being told. I think Udall did a great job pulling off a slightly unusual plot bound up in a difficult theme. I look forward to reading this again, when the time comes.