Bird in Hand
By Christina Baker Kline
(William Morrow, Hardcover, 9780688177249, 288pp.)
Publication Date: August 2009
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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The accident was just that -- an accident. It was dark, it was raining, ALISON had two drinks in her, and the other car ran the stop sign. She just didn't get out of the way fast enough. But now a little boy -- not her own -- is dead, and Alison finds herself trapped under the twin burdens of grief and guilt, and feeling increasingly estranged from her husband . . .
CHARLIE, who has his own burdens. He's in a job he doesn't love so that Alison can stay home with the kids (and why isn't she more grateful for that?); he has a house in the suburbs and a long commute to and from the city each day. And the only thing can focus on these days is his secret, sudden affair with . . .
CLAIRE, Alison's best friend. Bold where Alison is reserved; vibrant where Alison is demure, Claire has just had her first novel published, a thinly-veiled retelling of her childhood in South Carolina (which is also Alison's, in a sense). But even in the whirlwind of publication, Claire can't stop wondering if she should leave her husband . . .
BEN, an architect who is thoughtful, kind, and patient. And who wants nothing more than a baby, or two -- in fact, exactly the kind of life that Charlie and Alison have . . .
Four people, two marriages, one lifelong friendship: everything is about to change.
Christina Baker Kline is Writerin-Residence at Fordham University and the author of The Way Life Should Be, Desire Lines, and Sweet Water.
- Bird in Hand is told from the perspectives of the four main characters. How do they see themselves individually and how do they see each other? How would you describe them?
“Christina Baker Kline is a relentless storyteller. Once she sets her hook and starts reeling you in, struggle becomes counterproductive. The narrative line is too taut, the angler at the other end too skillful.”
-Richard Russo, author of Empire Falls and That Old Cape Magic
“Kline’s unflinching gaze and lovely prose set [BIRD IN HAND] apart from the herd of infidelity/marital ennui novels. It’s well-done, thoughtful and thought-provoking.”
“Kline explores the complications of the lines and bonds between marriage and friendship with honest and complex emotions on all four narrative fronts.”
“[Bird in Hand] exhibits an unsparing eye for the telling details that reveal how people think and act.”
“It is both thrilling and terrifying to read this powerful new novel and think: this could be me. Christina Baker Kline takes us on an intimate journey with her characters, one that brings us dangerously close to the hidden truths about love, trust and friendship.”
-Ellen Sussman, author of Dirty Words: A Literary Encyclopedia of Sex; Bad Girls: 25 Writers Misbehave; and On a Night Like This
“Kline’s razor-sharp novel about love, marriage and obligation is a beach book only because you could zip through it anywhere.”
“A gripping tale about two crumbling marriages, [BIRD IN HAND] offers a realistic and, at times, heartbreaking look at love and friendship.”
-RealSimple.com, Entertainment Pick
“In BIRD IN HAND, Christina Baker Kline looks at marriage, at parents and children, pain and sorrow, and at all the questions that life asks us. This is a wise and lovely book.”
-Roxana Robinson, author of Cost