The Book of Dead Birds: A Novel (Paperback)
Ava Sing Lo has been accidentally killing her mother's birds since she was a little girl. Now in her twenties, Ava leaves her native San Diego for the Salton Sea, where she volunteers to help environmental activists save thousands of birds poisoned by agricultural runoff.
Helen, her mother, has been haunted by her past for decades. As a young girl in Korea, Helen was drawn into prostitution on a segregated American army base. Several brutal years passed before a young white American soldier married her and brought her to California. When she gave birth to a black baby, her new husband quickly abandoned her, and she was left to fend for herself and her daughter in a foreign country.
With great beauty and lyricism, The Book of Dead Birds captures a young woman's struggle to come to terms with her mother's terrible past while she searches for her own place in the world.
“Lyrical, imaginative, beautifully crafted, and deeply intelligent. Before anything else, its characters take you by the heart.”
“[It] has an edgy beauty that enhances perfectly the seriousness of its contents.”
“THE BOOK OF DEAD BIRDS is a story of healing--a skillful, textured weaving of dark and light.”
“The plight of the mother and daughter is … heartbreaking.”
“A moving and perceptive first novel.”
“Brandeis’s writing is sensitive, lyrical and diverse.”
“A uniquely inventive novel.”
“Intricate and elegant ... a novel that illustrates a compelling search for meaning that is ultimately familiar.”
“Moving … powerful and strangely interesting.”
“An emotional story forged in crystalline prose.”
“[A] vivid tale of a woman learning to save and cherish life.”