This enchanting novel follows the quirky, soulful stories of the unlikely neighbors in a magical apartment complex.
Good to know
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.
The empty wicker birdcage beside her began to rattle impatiently. Zoey gave it a sharp look as if to say they were almost there. It stopped.
She glanced at the cabdriver to see if he had noticed. The old fig-shaped man was watching her in the rearview mirror, his silver eyebrows raised. Several seconds passed and he continued to stare, which she found disconcerting because she felt his eyes should really be on the long bridge over the water. But he seemed to be waiting for her to respond.
“Did you say something?” Zoey said. He hadn’t spoken a word since his Where to? when he’d picked her up at the airport.
“I asked if this was your first trip to Mallow Island.”
“Oh,” she said. “Yes.” The birdcage rattled in disagreement, but she ignored it this time. It was her first trip. The first trip she could remember, anyway.
“I’m moving there. I start college in Charleston this fall.”
“Well,” he said, drawing the word out like a tune. “Don’t hear of too many people moving to Mallow Island. It’s mostly a tourist place because of that book by Roscoe Avanger. You know it?”
Zoey nodded, distracted now because the small sea island had just appeared on the horizon and she didn’t want to miss a moment of it. It was rising from the marshy coastal water like a lackadaisical sea creature sunning itself, not a care in the world.
The closer they got to it, the more her excitement grew. This was really happening.
Why I love it
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.
Member ratings (19,483)
There are no mistakes in this world and it’s no mistake that I finished this book on the same day as the full moon eclipse in Taurus when it’s time for me to let go of the ones I’ve been holding on to
Wisconsin Rapids, WI
Grab a cup of pumpkin spice chai and curl up with this book. Zoey and her invisible bird, Pigeon are headed to Mallow Island to the condo Zoey’s mom left her when she passed away. Sweet and twisty!❤️
I love all of Sarah’s book with their Practical Magic like magic. I’ve read her first four books multiple times and this one will probably be added. This one hit close to home with the grief aspects.
La mesa, CA
Honestly one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. I just finished after picking it up 2 days ago & I bawled like a baby at the end. Less quirky than I thought it’d be but an absolute must read.
New Braunfels, TX
“There are birds and then there are other birds. Maybe they don’t sing, don’t fly, don’t fit in. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather be an other bird than just the same old thing.”