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A Thousand Paper Birds

An intimate portrait of five inextricably linked lives, spanning one calendar year at Kew Gardens - an exquisite, strange and beautiful debut for fans of Alice Sebold, Curtis Sittenfeld, Barbara Kingsolver and Audrey Niffenegger 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.
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An intimate portrait of five inextricably linked lives, spanning one calendar year at Kew Gardens - an exquisite, strange and beautiful debut for fans of Alice Sebold, Curtis Sittenfeld, Barbara Kingsolver and Audrey Niffenegger

About the Author

After studying theatre and film, Tor Udall co-founded a dance-theatre company and spent most of her twenties directing, writing and performing. A Thousand Paper Birds is her first novel. She lives in London with her husband and young children. @TorUdall


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 * Abundant and richly suggestive ... Udall weaves a complex story about the mysterious ways a life can linger, like a scent, and how grief and love can sometimes feel so vast and overwhelming that no earthly landscape can contain them * Daily Mail * 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 * Eithne Farry, 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 * This novel is all about seeing a "scarred loveliness" in a damaged world * Psychologies * 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, bestselling author of Good Me, Bad Me * I've fallen in love with this outstanding, eloquent book ... It's sublime. It's one of the most beautiful books I have EVER read. It touches your soul * Nina Pottell, Books Editor for Prima Magazine * A delicate and beautiful unfolding of grief, loss, love and the way that lives intersect. Insightful and inventive * Ann Morgan, author of Beside Myself * What a joy it was to read A Thousand Paper Birds, a lovely clockwork of a novel ... May it FLY! * Shelley Harris, author of Jubilee * A Thousand Paper Birds brings Kew Gardens, and the people who meet each other there, to life with vivid language * Yorkshire Post * Absolutely wonderful. It has the emotional integrity of One Day and the complexity and character depth of Cloud Atlas ... An incredible achievement * Deborah Install, author of A Robot in the Garden * Outstanding ... This book is packed with phrases and dialogue that took away my breath, and occasionally brought tears to my eyes. It is so, so intricate, so perfectly balanced. A beautiful novel that should be savoured and treasured, and will be remembered for a long time * Random Things Through My Letterbox *

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