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Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen
Magical realism

Other Birds

by Sarah Addison Allen

Quick take

This enchanting novel follows the quirky, soulful stories of the unlikely neighbors in a magical apartment complex.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_SlowRead

    Slow build

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Supernatural

    Supernatural

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Quirky

    Quirky

  • Illustrated icon, Icons_Rural_update

    Rural

Why I love it

Shea Ernshaw
Author, A History of Wild Places

When you find an author you love, and they publish a new book after many years away, cracking open the first page is like sinking into the arms of an old friend. I wanted to read this book slowly, absorbing each word carefully, yet I found myself rapidly thumbing through the pages with tears in my eyes. Other Birds is the story we all need right now, lyrical and heartbreaking and layered with hope. This book casts an unmistakable spell on its readers, and Allen writes with prose that feels like pure alchemy, as if each sentence were a summoning of autumn air and long-forgotten magic.

The story begins when eighteen-year-old Zoey arrives at her deceased mother’s home on the island of Mallow, which is known for its marshmallow confections. A cobblestone, horseshoe-shaped building called the Dellawisp—named after a variety of local birds—becomes Zoey’s unlikely home. The other residents who live in the Dellawisp are a curious mélange of outcasts, ghosts, and birds, but on the first night, when one of her neighbors is found dead, Zoey’s quiet summer becomes something quite extraordinary. And soon enough, the other residents of the Dellawisp become a found-family that Zoey never expected.

If I could rent a condo in the Dellawisp for the summer I’m certain I’d never leave. This book is more than the sum of its parts . . . there is something hidden among the margins of white paper and black ink—true sorcery that only Sarah Addison Allen can master. As she has done with all her previous books, she infuses a rawness and humanity into this delicate genre of magical realism that reminds me why storytelling is true magic. In short, this book is comfort food of the sweetest kind.

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Synopsis

Between the real and the imaginary, there are stories that take flight in the most extraordinary ways.

Right off the coast of South Carolina, on Mallow Island, The Dellawisp sits—a stunning old cobblestone building shaped like a horseshoe, and named after the tiny turquoise birds who, alongside its human tenants, inhabit an air of magical secrecy.

When Zoey comes to claim her deceased mother’s apartment on an island outside of Charleston she meets her quirky and secretive neighbors, including a girl on the run, two estranged middle-aged sisters, a lonely chef, a legendary writer, and three ghosts. Each with their own story. Each with their own longings. Each whose ending isn’t yet written.

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Preview

Get an early look from the first pages of Other Birds.

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Member thoughts

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Like (1932)
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5333 ratings
  • 60% Love
  • 36% Like
  • 3% Dislike
    Magical realism
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