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Birds of Paradise

Unabridged   14.5 hour(s)
Publication date: 06/09/2011

Birds of Paradise

Available from major retailers or BUY FROM AMAZON
Audio CD ISBN:9781611745771
1 Review(s)

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  1. Interweaving nature's storm with emotional storms Review by bookczuk

    The story Diana Abu-Jaber tells in <i>Birds of Paradise</i> is as multi-leveled as a buttery croissant or honey-drenched baklava. It is the story of one upper middle class family in Miami, fractured when the 13 year old daughter runs away from home and becomes a street kid. The story picks up 5 years after she leaves, as both her 18th birthday and Hurricane Katrina approach the vulnerable coastline and emotionally vulnerable family, each wrapped up in their own distinct world.

    The story shifts point of view to each family member, unpeeling the back-story, revealing current day life. As the hurricane and the 18th birthday of runaway Felice approach, each family member is faced with their own individual crisis of spirit and loss. The characters are well-drawn: Avis, a professional baker, creating the most intricate and amazing pastries to accompany her life of longing for her missing daughter; Brian, her lawyer-husband, escaping into the world of high-finance real estate; Stanley, their son, who was overshadowed by Felice's beauty and then by her loss, who found his own passions and fulfillment in the earth and its bounty; and beautiful, broken Felice, who has lived five years on the street, surviving by her looks, carving a small career as a model, trying to atone for a sin she alone knows.

    The interweaving of nature's storm and the emotional storm of the family worked well. The descriptions of the baking was amazing. Felice's world was an eye-opener, in that it provided a very different aspect of run-aways than I knew. And I wish Stanley's store was close enough to shop at here. (Brian's world didn't interest me that much, but was also descriptive and edifying.) There is a melancholy pervading the book, but the author does try to bring things together in somewhat of an uplifting manner -- a gentle sunrise after the storm.

    This is the third book I have read by this author, and while each hasn't jumped to the top of my all-time favorites list, has been worth the read. Thank you, LibraryThing and the audio-publishers (HighBridge) for sending me this book for audio-reading. (Posted on 12/8/12)

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