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Byrd Paperback – March 18, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Brilliant writing - lively and heartbreaking at every turn." - Jill McCorkle, New York Times bestselling author of Life After Life

"Kim Church has created an unforgettable and gripping tale about a young woman's passage to adulthood in a small town in North Carolina in her excellent debut novel, Byrd. There are books we like to read because they provide a window to a world wholly unfamiliar, but there are others like Byrd that give insight into our own lives." - BookPage

"This protagonist is so appealing, with her unflinching moral candor, her mistakes based on generous instincts. The prose is lilting, joyous. This novel--about young lives that start out full of promise, falter, then recover--is a hard luck story that will make you feel good." - Debra Monroe, author of On the Outskirts of Normal: Forging a Family Against the Grain

"A riveting debut." - Ron Rash, New York Times bestselling author of Serena and Nothing Gold Can Stay

"Addie is a particular woman -- a character that will linger and grow beloved -- but she could also be your sister, your roommate from college, a friend in the neighborhood. ... Kim Church has imagined a world of good people missing the mark as good people sometimes do. They're familiar, a comfort. I will never forget the impact of the final pages."- Patricia Henley, National Book Award finalist and author of Other Heartbreaks

"A richly layered story that explores motherhood and its attendant relationships in ways that break new ground, both stylistically and thematically. Already recognized for her work in the short story form, Kim Church should gain national attention with this original and important novel." - Angela Davis-Gardner, author of Butterfly's Child

"Beautiful, dream-like language ... connects us directly with the experience of the characters. It goes right to the heart, without being filtered through the brain, the way a smell connects you to a memory." - Nancy Peacock, New York Times notable author of Life Without Water and The Life & Times of Persimmon Wilson

About the Author

Kim Church's stories and poetry have appeared in Shenandoah, Mississippi Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, the Norton anthology Flash Fiction Forward, and elsewhere. A Pushcart Prize nominee, she has received fiction fellowships from the North Carolina Arts Council, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Millay Colony for the Arts, and Vermont Studio Center. She lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with her husband, artist Anthony Ulinski. Byrd is her first novel.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Dzanc Books (March 18, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1938604520
  • ISBN-13: 978-1938604522
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #393,021 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in Lexington, North Carolina, Kim earned her B.A. in English from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and her law degree from UNC-Chapel Hill. She lives with her husband, artist Anthony Ulinski, in Raleigh, where she divides her time between writing and law. Visit her online at www.kimchurch.com.

From BYRD:

Addie believes in books. They are more interesting than real life and easier to understand. Sometimes you can guess the ending. Things usually work out, and if they don't, you can always tell yourself it was only a book.

Also, there's the paper-and-glue smell of them, and the way the pages turn soft from being read and re-read.

In first grade, Addie's teacher gives reading prizes: for every twenty-five books, a silver dollar; or, if you prefer, she'll drive over to your house after supper and let you choose a toy out of the trunk of her car. Addie always invites her over. She likes having the teacher's giant black Chevrolet parked out front where the neighbors can see. She likes standing over the trunk, inspecting the dolls, cradles, jump ropes, Slinkies, kickballs, knowing any of them could be hers. In the end, she is always practical. She collects enough silver dollars to fill a peanut butter jar, which she keeps on her dresser. It makes her feel rich and important, like someone you might read about in a book.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Julie W. Snyder on March 27, 2014
Format: Paperback
I recently heard Kim Church talk about her first novel "Byrd" and how it came about. According to the author, Church (who had been interested in writing the great American novel for a number of years) was originally inspired by a dinner conversation with a man who had casually mentioned that he had fathered a child that had been given up for adoption. Church recalled thinking "What about the mother"? "I felt sure this was not casual dinner conversation for her."

What an intriguing start to a novel on Motherhood and Womanhood. The book is written from the perspectives of Addie (the main character), the child's father and his new wife. Church's book is well written and thought provoking. She has taken her time to craft a wonderful story and hope there are more novels in the future.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jenna Frye on March 18, 2014
Format: Paperback
I didn't know what to think about this book at first. When learning the characters in the beginning, the paragraphs would jump around from person to person. I tend to get frustrated when I can't keep up from the start. But I soon changed this thought once I knew the characters. I enjoyed the fast pace of the book, as that is exactly what I needed on that specific day.

I may be a bit biased of the book in the sense that it takes place in North Carolina and she speaks of areas that I have lived in. I also lived in Los Angeles where another character lived, so it was easy for me to connect to the atmosphere of the book and I found that it sucked me in. I love books that take me back in time to a place that I have been and memories just come through the floodgates and this book accomplished this for me.

"Byrd" basically follows Addie from her younger years up until she is well into her 50's. She struggles to find her place in life and doesn't really know how to love or really what it is. She had a deep longing for a friend in high school, Roland, that seems to follow her throughout her life and maybe this is the reason for her confusion with men.

Roland is basically a guy who went out west to chase a dream that never happens. He adopts a cocaine addiction and seems to have trouble doing basic survival functions and usually calls on the help of a woman to get him by. He, as well as Addie, don't understand their path or how to love or even want to. Maybe that is why he keeps telling her that she is the only one who "gets" him.

When Addie goes to visit Roland in Los Angeles on a whim, she finally does the deed and ends up pregnant.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Susan C. Tekulve on April 5, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
This is a lovely and emotionally compelling lyric novel. At its heart is the story of Addie Lockwood, a young woman who gives up her baby because she feels that she is ill equipped to be a mother, and because her relationship with her musician boyfriend, Roland, will be forever on too-shaky ground to support and nurture a child. The plot follows the lives that Addie and Roland lead separately, in chapters told through the woven voices of these two characters, as well as through the voices of the characters who touch their lives. The result of this weaving is a marvel. Church's prose is delicate, pitch perfect, and the lyric form suits the story of a woman whose entire life is defined by the absence of her child, a boy she calls Byrd. What's even more compelling about this book is how this absence, a secret to everyone but Addie, affects all the characters in her life. When one character remarks, "Everybody has holes," Addie quips "I'm the holeyest. I am the holey of holeys." She says this without a trace of self pity, and at this moment I understand what a remarkable character Church has created. Addie is a flawed woman filled with "holes," yet still loving, and still filled with the hope for love. Church perfectly balances poetic language and form with emotional intelligence. BYRD is both beautifully written and beautifully humane. (A note to anyone who reads this review: Though this site is showing that I bought this book on a Kindle, I actually bought it in print form, and I'm so glad that I did).
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Avid Reviewer TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 10, 2014
Format: Paperback
Byrd by Kim Church is a stunning debut novel that will both break your heart and throw every pore of your being into one shameless act of joyful dancing in chorus. It is a dazzling piece of writing which is entrancing, tearful and gratifying, a novel which readers will enjoy at every turn.

Kim crafted an incredibly superb story of two memorable characters, Addie Lockwood and Roland Rhodes. Roland Rhodes has known Addie since fourth grade, which was cultivated into a short-lived tumultuous relationship. When Addie realized that she was pregnant, she kept the news to herself, but decided to continue with her pregnancy. When Byrd is born she gave him up for adoption.

Years later the two met again, in California. Addie is now a thirty-three years old who runs a used bookstore. Roland’s passion for music has taken to California. Will their chance meeting help them to rekindle their old love and reunite? Or will it be Byrd who bridge the years of separation between his parents and bring them together?

Byrd by Kim Church is a love that refuses to go away. Deep, intense, thoughtful and penetrating, it is also a story about wrong choices, relationship, motherhood, adoption and family. The story is truthful and authentic, yet moving and fun. The story unfolds through the letters written by Addie to Byrd, alternating with flashbacks of Addie and Roland. Byrd is an unforgettable story.
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