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An intimate portrait of five inextricably linked lives, spanning one calendar year at Kew Gardens – an exquisite, strange and beautiful debut for fans of Alice Sebold, Curtis Sittenfeld, Barbara Kingsolver and Audrey Niffenegger

LONGLISTED FOR THE AUTHORS' CLUB BEST FIRST NOVEL AWARD 2018

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. 

Jonah roams Kew Gardens trying to reassemble the shattered pieces of his life after the death of his wife, Audrey. Weathering the seasons and learning to love again, he meets Chloe, an enigmatic origami artist who is hesitant to let down her own walls.

In the gardens he also meets ten-year-old Milly, and Harry, a gardener, both of whom have secrets of their own to keep – and mysteries to solve.

As the truth of Audrey's death unravels, the characters learn that stories, like paper, can be refolded and reformed.

Available from Amazon UK, Bloomsbury, Waterstones, FoylesThe Book Depository, Amazon USA and local bookshops. Also available on Kindle and Audible

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Reviews

 
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‘A masterful exploration of love, loss and the healing power of the natural world. Like Max Porter’s Grief is a Thing With Feathers, it uses fable, mystery and a poetic sensibility to get at the nub of loss … Heartbreaking and uplifting in equal measure, it’s a love letter to a garden and a paean to all kinds of imperfect love’ – Observer (see full review)

'Eloquent and beautiful' - Prima Books of the Year (2017)

'Udall has done for Kew what Hardy did for Wessex or Wordsworth for the Lakes ...  On page after page of precise, exquisite prose the book seems to hold its breath, as if the slightest sound might awaken the reader from its spell. Love, death, redemption, grief, hope: these are the grandest themes, the big, spreading trees at the centre of the human garden. And, like the tender and talented arborist that she so clearly is, Tor Udall has pruned them to perfection' – Richard Nye, The Richmond Magazine (see full review)

'Absolutely wonderful. It has the emotional integrity of One Day and the complexity and character depth of Cloud Atlas ... An incredible achievement' – Deborah Install, author of A Robot in the Garden

'A rich and intricate debut, at once subtle and powerful, intent and reflective, lyrical and visceral, expertly cultivating an abundance of life from all that remains after death. A beautiful, bountiful book' – James Hannah, author of The A to Z of You and Me

'An extraordinary, enchanting book. Writing as fine and precise as a botanical sketch ... A brilliant story – this is a book to love and treasure' – Tracy Rees, author of Amy Snow

'A delicate and beautiful unfolding of grief, loss, love and the way that lives intersect. Insightful and inventive, this is an enthralling debut' – Ann Morgan, author of Beside Myself

'What a joy it was to read A Thousand Paper Birds, a lovely clockwork of a novel ... May it fly' – Shelley Harris, author of Vigilante

'A beautiful, unexpected and compelling debut from a fully-fledged talent. It's a complete fictional world which drew me in and held me rapt from start to finish' – Sam Bain, co-writer of Peep Show, Fresh Meat and Four Lions

'A beautiful, gentle love story ... Magical, memorable and one I will treasure' – Ali Land, author of Good Me, Bad Me

'I've fallen in love with this outstanding, eloquent book. Absolutely one of my favourite debuts of the year. It's sublime. It's one of the most beautiful books I have EVER read. It touches your soul' – Nina Pottell

'This is not just a book it is the purest of love songs ... Without doubt, my book of 2017' – The Last Word Book Review (see full review). Also chosen for 'My Best Books of the Year 2017'

'This novel is all about seeing a 'scarred loveliness' in a damaged world' – Psychologies, July 2017

'A moving story as intricate and elegant as the origami birds that Chloe, one of the characters, folds. I loved this whimsical debut novel' – Red Magazine, 50 Of The Best Summer Reads

'Outstanding ... This book is packed with phrases and dialogue that took away my breath, and occasionally brought tears to my eyes. It is so, so intricate, so perfectly balanced. A beautiful novel that should be savoured and treasured, and will be remembered for a long time. Stunning. Just stunning' – Random Things Through My Letterbox (see full review). Also chosen as Anne Cater's favourite Book of the Year

'Udall weaves a complex story about the mysterious ways a life can linger, like a scent, and how grief and love can sometimes feel so vast and overwhelming that no earthly landscape can contain them' – Daily Mail

'Poetic and finely wrought, this novel is all about seeing ‘a broken-hearted splendour, a scarred loveliness’ in a damaged world' – The Sunday Express, S Magazine

'A Thousand Paper Birds brings Kew Gardens, and the people who meet there, to life with vivid language' – Scotsman

'Mysterious, ethereal and haunting, this book taunts you with an explanation just out of reach until its delicately crafted, hopeful ending. If you’ve never been to Kew you’ll long to visit' – WI Life Magazine

'A story of death and its aftermath, which lingers long after the last page' – Independent

'A captivating novel. So wise, generous-hearted & beautifully written. I loved it' – Emylia Hall, author of The Book of Summers and The Thousand Lights Hotel

'So eloquent and true that it will leave you gasping in recognition. You will want to quote it to anyone who will listen, and trust me, read out a paragraph and they will listen. It is testament to Udall’s gorgeous prose that this powerfully, quietly triumphant book never feels sad, but beautiful and achingly alive' – Andrew Gillman (see full review

'A Thousand Paper Birds brings Kew Gardens, and the people who meet each other there, to life with vivid language' – Yorkshire Post

'A Thousand Paper Birds is a stunningly beautiful, poignant and compelling read. My heart ached while reading it. This is a book that I just know I will read again and again' – Brew and Books Review (see full review)

'My favourite book of the year ... This is emotionally piercing, at times heartbreaking, and in other places an utterly beautiful read. Buy it for everyone you know' - Books of the Year 2017 Books from Basford

'I absolutely adored this novel. It is a story that will stay with you long after the last page has been turned. Reminiscent of Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones this book will delight all who read it' - My Bookish Blog Slot (see full review)

'Reading this book has been an unforgettable experience and one that is going to stay with me for quite some time. One of my favourite books of the year so far!' – Books and Me Review (see full review)

'Poetic, visceral, delicate. A story of grief. But also of light and growth. Beautiful' – Will Dean, author of Dark Pines

'An enchanting story of loss and rebirth. If you see origami as far more than a recreational novelty, you’ll be delighted to see how sensitively our art has been woven into a story' – British Origami Society (see full review)

'Proof that a story can be quirky and enchanting without being twee, this is a mature and emotionally intelligent exploration of grief. I really liked the sex – a significant element I wasn’t expecting – for its honesty and physicality; it’s very well done' – The Literary Sofa – Chosen for best Summer Reads 2017

'This whimsical debut novel unfolds gently like an elegant and intricate origami bird' – Book of the Week, Woman's Weekly, New Zealand

'A lovely, lovely book filled with some of the most beautiful sentences I've ever read. Tor Udall has become one of my favourite writers' - Foreword Books 2017 Top Ten


Segment from ITN / London Tonight programme broadcast on 26 June 2017 featuring Tor Udall's debut novel 'A Thousand Paper Birds'

 Map by livi gosling. © Bloomsbury publishing

Map by livi gosling. © Bloomsbury publishing