A Thousand Paper Birds

This was a Netgalley read – thanks to Netgalley, publisher and especially to the author. I put off reviewing this one for a little bit as I think it’s one that I needed to ruminate on. A truly beautiful and creative read, dealing with themes of love and loss in a tender and poignant way.






I actually found the descent into this book the hardest part. It had lovely language and detail but there was a little bit of jarring with voice…the “I” used only twice, pedantic I know, took me out of the narrative. The rest is in the third person. Admittedly, once was when one of the characters was reading from his notebook so, fine, but the other wasn’t. It is, no doubt, for impact, but it felt jarring. However,  aside from that, the description was stunning throughout – opening with Jonah’s grief as he is mourning the passing of his wife. We fall into his loss and are displaced as surely as he is.


The depth comes from the all-consuming sense that the characters have of being lost. Early on there is a sense that there is always a distance between individuals, that we can never know what they are truly thinking or feeling, even when you love them. Four characters converge throughout the narrative – Jonah (musician and teacher), Harry (gardener at Kew), Chloe (an artist) and Milly (a young girl) – all connected by the fifth character, Audrey and her death. The themes are summed up beautifully in the artwork created throughout the novel. I adored the creativity running through the novel – linking music, art, writing and all against the backdrop and art of nature in the setting of Kew Gardens.


This one does stay with you – I know I will be revisiting it to muse over some the beautiful passages.

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