A Thousand Paper Birds by Tor Udall

A Thousand Paper Birds

Tor Udall

Sad and life-affirming, lyrical and rooted in daily objects, this is a story of loss. In the enchanted setting of Kew Gardens, five people try to come to terms with death and strive to let go. All around them, nature offers its bounty. Will they find healing?


As the damp from the rotting slats seeps into his trousers, Harry remembers a bench he found earlier, decorated with blossom. It marked the anniversary of a mother's death. At Christmas, relatives will often place wreaths or mistletoe, and it's palpable, the love of those remaining ... and the hungry distance between absence and presence. Probably no one will remember this moss-covered bench, but the wood tells its story. It's reminding Harry that trees can be reincarnated into a seat or a coffin. A sheet of paper, a piano, a weapon ....

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