A Thousand Paper Birds by Tor Udall



I would like to thank Netgalley for my ARC copy of this book for an honest review.

Audrey is the link that holds this story together, she is the linchpin.  One problem though, she died in a mysterious car crash, leaving behind her husband and what seems to be other random strangers.

It is set in Kew Gardens, London, and spans a year.  During that year we discover and meet Jonah, who is Audrey’s husband, Milly a little girl who seems to wander round Kew by herself, Harry the botanist and Chloe the art student and maker of origami birds. They are all linked in their own way to Audrey.

I really wanted to enjoy this story, the characters are well written, the general feel of the book was only okay for me though.  It would be a lazy afternoon read, if I was asked my opinion of it.  It rather feels like i was merely meandering through it, rather than wanting to keep turning the pages to find out what happened next.

I have marked this book as a 3*, but with an addition on my personal notes , to come back to this book and try it again, as I didn’t dislike it.


An intimate portrait of five inextricably linked lives, spanning one calendar year at Kew Gardens in London.

Nothing is set in stone. A bird can be refolded into a boat, a fish, a kimono, or any other extravagant vision. At other times it aches to return to its original folds. The paper begins to fray. It tires, rebels.

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 defenses 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.


Hardcover, 352 pages
Expected publication: October 3rd 2017 by Bloomsbury Circus
ISBN 1408878631 (ISBN13: 9781408878637)