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Birds of Paradise: A Novel Hardcover – September 6, 2011
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“The Muirs’ absorbing story builds to a thoroughly satisfying climax.” (Sue Corbett - People Magazine)
“The novel itself swells with life and style, with the stark contrast of the delicacy of fancy pastries and the down and dirty life on the beach.” (Alan Cheuse, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA. - NPR, All Things Considered)
“Diana Abu-Jaber’s gorgeous novel explores the ways a modern family can break down and be reborn. She writes with a precise, almost poetic distillation of feeling, heightened in contrast to the ripe, exuberant landscape and the unsettled feelings of a family in limbo.” (Amy Driscoll - Miami Herald)
“With Birds of Paradise, Abu-Jaber has made an amazing, gigantic leap into rare air, that hazy stratosphere we jokingly call The Big Time. Her novel is that worthy, and that beautiful.” (Christine Selk - The Oregonian)
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Top Customer Reviews
This is not a story of abuse or addiction--although there is abuse and there are drugs in her story. No, Felice was a supremely lovely and loved child being raised by flawed, but essentially good, people. And part of the suspense of the novel is the motivation for Felice's actions. No one can understand why this young girl went off the rails. At one point her father asks himself:
"What. What should he and Avis have done? Put their girl's face on a milk carton?
Missing: Felice Muir, Age 13.
Kidnapped by herself.
What child does such a thing as that? Could she have been that unhappy?"
The story is told in chapters that alternate between Avis's, Brian's, and Felice's points of view, until Stanley has his say near the novel's end. Based on this overly simple summary, Birds of Paradise sounds like a Lifetime original movie. Nothing could be further from the truth!Read more ›
Crescent and Arabian Jazz were very good books, and I loved them, and I also loved Ms. Abu-Jaber's family memoir - The Language of Baklava. I wish she would get back to writing other books similar in style to her earlier books as they were far more interesting and more engaging than her later 2 books, and additionally the characters in the earlier books were much better portrayed.
I was left with an overwhelming feeling of sadness and heaviness, despite the author's attempt at leaving this book on an uplifting note.
I personally read as a form of escapism. My book club elected to read this book, though, so I dug in eagerly, hoping to discover a gem I would learn to love. Although I connected with the characters individually and in their interactions with one another, I was left feeling as though all of them were being sheltered, shrouded, and treated as incomplete entities. Perhaps this was deliberate, in order to emphasize their disconnection.
I would actually rate this a 3.5 star, not just a 3. But that isn't an option Amazon is giving me. And, while the jumping back and forth between memory, the four main characters, and the timeline (sometimes re-living the beginning of a particular time with different characters, therefore feeling as though you're re-creating scenarios) was a little disconcerting, I did enjoy the writer's voice. Had I not been left feeling unfulfilled at the end of the book, I probably would have given 4 stars
Most Recent Customer Reviews
People did not like this book. However this is the first Abu-Jaber book I have read and although at first the people seemed annoying, the more I delved into the book the more I... Read morePublished 12 months ago by louise
This book examines a family that has unraveled - mom and dad are living alone in a home, their adult son living a completely separate life from them (for example, the parents have... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Jonathan Robbins
I listened to this on cd's from the library. I sometimes struggle with this format as my mind gets occupied with driving and I miss a minute and have to go back and listen to the... Read morePublished 22 months ago by go bucks
Great read, you could feel allot of the families emotion, pain, and sense of loss however, a young girl on her own that many years to romanticized, it had to be much tougher, hard,... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Linda L. Baral
Loved the south Florida setting and the glimpse into the darker side of the South Beach scene. Enjoyed the baking sections, their lyrical description. Read morePublished on April 28, 2014 by Bonnie Flynn
Diana Abu-Jaber's novel Birds of Paradise is a gut-wrenching family drama set against the backdrop of the tropical suburbs that surround Miami. Read morePublished on March 28, 2014 by Karen Lea Hansen
I thought this was a good book to think and talk about with my book group. Will recc. It to othersPublished on September 2, 2013 by mkline
I think why I didn't care for it that much was because I never felt anything for the characters. The daughter leaving home, it made no sense to me why she would. Read morePublished on August 30, 2013 by Kathleen Steele
You might become exasperated by one of the characters in this story, but it's a captivating read by a great story-teller.Published on August 24, 2013 by Barbara L. Johns