A Thousand Paper Birds
Longlisted for the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award 2018
After the death of his wife, Jonah roams Kew Gardens trying to reassemble the shattered pieces of his life. Chloe finds solace in the origami she meticulously folds. But when she meets Jonah, her defences threaten to fall. Milly – a child quick to laugh – freely explores Kew. But where does she go when the gardens are closed? Harry saves plants from extinction. He longs for something – or someone – to root him to the earth.
Audrey links these strangers. As the mystery of her death unravels, the characters weather the passing seasons to learn that stories, like paper, can be reformed.
Praise for A Thousand Paper Birds
‘A masterful exploration of love, loss and the healing power of the natural world. Like Max Porter’s Grief is a Thing With Feathers, it uses fable, mystery and a poetic sensibility to get at the nub of loss. Heartbreaking and uplifting in equal measure.’ – Observer
‘A rich and intricate debut, at once subtle and powerful, intent and reflective, lyrical and visceral, expertly cultivating an abundance of life from all that remains after death.’ – James Hannah, author of The A to Z of You and Me
‘A moving story as intricate and elegant as the origami birds that Chloe, one of the characters, folds. I loved this whimsical debut novel.’ – Red, Summer Reads
‘Unputdownable fiction … Poetic and finely wrought.’ – Sunday Express
‘A story of death and its aftermath, which lingers long after the last page.’ – Independent
‘An extraordinary, enchanting book. Writing as fine and precise as a botanical sketch, gorgeously arty themes, powerful yet fragile imagery and a brilliant story – this is a book to love and treasure.’ – Tracy Rees, author of Amy Snow
‘A poetic exploration of those most difficult of topics, grief and love, against the backdrop of Kew Gardens . Udall deftly leads the reader through the tangled web of relationships binding each of these four people to Audrey, whose own story comes to be revealed through her diaries.’ – Scotsman
‘Magical, memorable and one I will treasure.’ – Ali Land, author of Good Me Bad Me