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Publisher's Summary

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.
©2017 Tor Udall (P)2017 Audible, Ltd
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Critic Reviews

"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)
"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)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Sara on 06-26-17

A Waste Of Time

This book had such unbelievable characters that it was impossible for me to stay interested and engaged. The dialogue and strange behavior exhibited by the characters boggled the mind. The "mystery" wasn't enough to hold my attention. I liked the idea of a story about five lives that intersect over a year at Kew Gardens but the follow through needed much more thought and planning. For me, the writing was so poorly done I was mystified by how this was even published. Juvenile, unlikable and ridiculous. I hate wasting my time on unedited rough drafts.

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21 of 24 people found this review helpful


By Amazon Customer on 01-04-18

beautiful & mismerizing..a jewel of a story. Brava

narrator very good..lent a light touch without dropping the rythm or threads. very important !

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By yvonne tomlin on 09-13-17

A triumph of a book

A story of loss, grief, love and letting go. The author is a master wordsmith. Heartbreaking and uplifting. A must read.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful


By C. Bennell on 12-20-17

Interesting story with poor production

What did you like best about A Thousand Paper Birds? What did you like least?

The raw grief felt by Jonah is expertly explored and really draws the reader in at the start.
I did find the story of Mille slightly clumsy and it detracted from the overall narative.

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Gavin Osborn?

My main issue with this audobook is the non-existant quality control on the narration. Gavin Osborn does an ok job but his accents are poorly realised and very niave.

One thing that annoyed me was that there is no pause between the end of a section - the chapters appear to be broken into sections or sub-chapters. So The narrator completes the end of a thought provoking or sensetive section and without pausing for breath launches into a whole new sub-chapter.

Also at one point the narrator mistakenly says "minute" as in small rather than "minute" as in 60 seconds, and there is a word which appears to have been changed but rather than replacing the existing word, both words are spoken at the same time. Clearly the person doing quality control on this audiobook did not actually listen to it all the way through which is inexcusable really.

Was A Thousand Paper Birds worth the listening time?

It is just about worth the listening time - I think it would work better as a reading book rather than an audio book.

Any additional comments?

This audiobook costs a decent a=moutn of money and the producers should respect that and take the time and effort to produce something of the quality expected by the purchaser

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