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Bird: A Novel
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Published:
Catapult 2015
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Description
This is a novel about the persistence of longing in which the twin lives of the title character blur and overlap. Bird puts her child on the bus for school and passes the day with her baby. Interwoven into the passage of the day are phone calls from a promiscuous, unmarried friend, and Bird's recollection of the feral, reckless love she knew as a young woman. It's a day infused with fear and longing, an exploration of the ways the past shapes and dislodges the present.

In the present moment, Bird dutifully cares for her husband, infant, older child. But at the same time Bird inhabits this rehabilitated domestic life, she re–lives an unshakeable passion: Mickey, the lover she returns to with what feels like a migratory impulse, Mickey, whose movements and current lovers she still tracks. With Mickey, she slummed and wandered—part–time junkie, tourist of the low–life—a life of tantalizing peril. This can't last, Bird thought, and it was true.

Noy Holland's writing is lyrical, fired by a heightened eroticism in which every sight and auditory sensation is charged with arousal. The writing in this book – Noy Holland's first novel –– is fearless in its depiction of sexual appetite and obsessive love. It sheds light on the terror of abandonment and the terrible knowledge that we are helpless to protect not only ourselves but the people we most love.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
11/01/2015
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781619026650
ASIN:
B0165X48DA
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Noy Holland. (2015). Bird: A Novel. Catapult.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Noy Holland. 2015. Bird: A Novel. Catapult.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Noy Holland, Bird: A Novel. Catapult, 2015.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Noy Holland. Bird: A Novel. Catapult, 2015.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 17:08:24
Date Updated:
Jan 04, 2021 17:18:32
Last Metadata Check:
Nov 27, 2022 09:04:57
Last Metadata Change:
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Nov 27, 2022 09:05:01
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      • role: Author
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      • bioText: Noy Holland is the author of Bird: A Novel as well as three story collections, Swim for the Little One First, What Begins with Bird, and The Spectacle of the Body. Recipient of fellowships from the NEA, the MacDowell Colony and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, she teaches writing in the graduate program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
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imprint
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publishDate
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title
Bird
fullDescription
This is a novel about the persistence of longing in which the twin lives of the title character blur and overlap. Bird puts her child on the bus for school and passes the day with her baby. Interwoven into the passage of the day are phone calls from a promiscuous, unmarried friend, and Bird's recollection of the feral, reckless love she knew as a young woman. It's a day infused with fear and longing, an exploration of the ways the past shapes and dislodges the present.

In the present moment, Bird dutifully cares for her husband, infant, older child. But at the same time Bird inhabits this rehabilitated domestic life, she re–lives an unshakeable passion: Mickey, the lover she returns to with what feels like a migratory impulse, Mickey, whose movements and current lovers she still tracks. With Mickey, she slummed and wandered—part–time junkie, tourist of the low–life—a life of tantalizing peril. This can't last, Bird thought, and it was true.

Noy Holland's writing is lyrical, fired by a heightened eroticism in which every sight and auditory sensation is charged with arousal. The writing in this book – Noy Holland's first novel –– is fearless in its depiction of sexual appetite and obsessive love. It sheds light on the terror of abandonment and the terrible knowledge that we are helpless to protect not only ourselves but the people we most love.
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: The Kenyon Review
      • content: "By subtly manipulating the interplay between past and present, Holland provides the reader the bridge between both worlds that Bird herself lacks... We do not always see [Bird] clearly, but we are always transfixed."
      • premium: False
      • source: Elle Magazine
      • content: "The language used to tell this story creates a certain beauty a rhythm."
      • premium: False
      • source: Boston Globe
      • content: "Bird, a short, poetic book, treats memory as if it were more real, more solid than the present... But the Bird of her memories is frenetically mobile, recalling not only passion but a road trip worthy of Denis Johnson, full of Faulknerian characters and equally disturbing personal revelations... A short, bittersweet tale about how the longing for passion lives on, unsustainable in all but the persistence of memory."
      • premium: False
      • source: Booklist
      • content: "A potent account . . . [Bird] is remarkably innovative and astonishingly original, defying easy categorization as it daringly pushes boundaries with language and story structure. . . . Holland's clever depiction of the blurry lines between love and hate, devotion and abandonment, and detachment and obsession will give fascinated readers a lot to ponder."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from August 17, 2015
        In her powerful debut novel, Holland (What Begins with Bird) tells the story of Bird, a mother and wife who, over the course of an innocuous weekday, reminisces about her drug-fueled spell with Mickey, a past flame, after a telephone call from an old friend, Suzie, tips her off to his latest escapades. Alternating between past and present, Bird mentally slips into her former life—a time of squatting in rundown buildings, risky sex, suffering a miscarriage, traveling cross-country, and encountering odd characters—as her contemporary self watches her son board the school bus and, later, soaks in the tub with her infant daughter, in Bird’s rural home in a vague Northeast setting. Telephone conversations with Suzie, who is embracing the wild existence Bird abandoned, bridge the eventually blurring time lines and result in a surreal journey. Holland crafts a deceptive narrative, one that on the surface appears to chronicle the dreariness of domesticity, yet ultimately transforms itself into a densely layered tale of lust and ache, filled with touches of the bizarre. A fascinating novel.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        September 1, 2015
        In this brief, fiercely erotic novel, a woman who appears enveloped in conventional domesticity clings to memories of the dangerously bohemian life she shared with her former lover. The opening scene of graphic sadomasochistic sex with Mickey, her former lover, that Bird is dreaming, or perhaps remembering, is interrupted by a ringing phone that wakes her in the present. Rapturous if sometimes-troubling memories of Mickey continue to slam-dance into her daily routine. As the day unfolds, Bird gets her boy off to school, nurses the baby, gives breakfast to her husband-for whom she feels mildly irritated affection-and attempts desultory housekeeping. All the while, in nonlinear fits and starts, she relives her affair with Mickey: the unheated apartment in pre-gentrified Brooklyn; the "junk" they snorted; their violent sex; Mickey's fall down an elevator shaft. Neither Bird's pregnancy nor Mickey's marriage proposal came to fruition. After taking a haphazard cross-country trip and meeting an even more degraded, desperate couple, Bird and Mickey returned to New York and broke up. While she remains addicted to the idea of Mickey and the squalid passion he offered, she is ambivalent. She loves her little boy and infant daughter with fierce maternal protectiveness. Although Bird enjoys losing herself in reveries of Mickey, she tells herself she doesn't want her son to be like him or her daughter to love a boy like him too long. Given that Bird recently cracked a pelvis in childbirth, readers may wonder if the novel is actually a literary riff on postpartum depression. Holland (Swim for the Little One First, 2012, etc.) gives Bird's past with Mickey a visceral immediacy but keeps her present life in New England abstract and slightly out of focus. An admirable tour de force of imagery and linguistic pyrotechnics, but the endless talk about passion eventually pours cold water over the initial fiery energy, turning a novel about heightened emotions into a trudge.

        COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        December 1, 2015

        Bird, a woman from a privileged background, is haunted by memories of her obsessive relationship with a young man named Mickey. Living together as squatters in a tumbledown apartment, they scavenge for firewood and food like urban campers. Eventually, they drive out West, where their relationship plays out, and they end up hitching a ride with an even stranger couple. In her present life, Bird is drinking too much and married to a husband who is barely present. She spends her days caring for her two young children, her slum life with Mickey now the stuff of dreamy, eliding flashbacks woven into the narrative. VERDICT A stylistic tour de force, this slim novel by Holland (The Spectacle of the Body) is more poetry than prose, all imagery and sensuousness, its story line nearly as elusive as a mirage.--Reba Leiding, emeritus, James Madison Univ. Lib., Harrisonburg, VA

        Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        October 15, 2015
        Short-story writer Holland presents her first novel, a potent account of Bird, a physically and emotionally broken mother who, in the course of mundane daily life, revisits the raw and reckless love she once experienced with a man named Mickey. Their sexually charged and ultimately doomed relationship led them on a wild ride through the best and worst of each other. But Bird still misses Mickey and keeps tabs on him through a friend, seemingly unwilling to release him or the past. Though Holland's tale may not appeal to the average reader, it is remarkably innovative and astonishingly original, defying easy categorization as it daringly pushes boundaries with language and story structure. Along the way, Holland highlights the extreme feelings and actions possible between lovers, parents and children, and friends. Holland's clever depiction of the blurry lines between love and hate, devotion and abandonment, and detachment and obsession will give fascinated readers a lot to ponder.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2015, American Library Association.)

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shortDescription
This is a novel about the persistence of longing in which the twin lives of the title character blur and overlap. Bird puts her child on the bus for school and passes the day with her baby. Interwoven into the passage of the day are phone calls from a promiscuous, unmarried friend, and Bird's recollection of the feral, reckless love she knew as a young woman. It's a day infused with fear and longing, an exploration of the ways the past shapes and dislodges the present.

In the present moment, Bird dutifully cares for her husband, infant, older child. But at the same time Bird inhabits this rehabilitated domestic life, she re–lives an unshakeable passion: Mickey, the lover she returns to with what feels like a migratory impulse, Mickey, whose movements and current lovers she still tracks. With Mickey, she slummed and wandered—part–time junkie, tourist of the low–life—a life of tantalizing peril. This can't last, Bird thought, and it was...
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