Birds in Fall (Paperback)

A Novel

By Brad Kessler

Scribner, 9780743287395, 256pp.

Publication Date: March 13, 2007

Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (4/11/2006)

List Price: 17.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


One fall night, an innkeeper on a remote island in Nova Scotia watches an airplane plummet to the sea. As the search for survivors envelops the island, the mourning families gather at the inn, waiting for news of those they have lost. Here among strangers, they form an unusual community, struggling for comfort and consolation. A Taiwanese couple sets out fruit for their daughter's ghost. A Bulgarian man plays piano in the dark, sending the music to his lost wife. Two Dutch teenagers rage against their parents' death. An Iranian exile, mourning his niece, recites the Persian tales that carry the wisdom of centuries. At the center of this striking novel is Ana Gathreaux, an ornithologist who specializes in bird migration, and whose husband perished on the flight.

What unfolds is the story of how these families unite and disperse in the wake of the tragedy, and how their interweaving lives are ultimately transformed. Brad Kessler's knowledge of the natural world, music, and myth enriches every page.

About the Author

Brad Kessler’s novel Birds in Fall won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. His other books include Lick Creek and The Woodcutter’s Christmas. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, The Kenyon Review, and BOMB, as well as other publications. He is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.  

Praise For Birds in Fall: A Novel

"A dramatic and strikingly poetic novel of nature's glory and humankind's imagination."

-- Chicago Tribune

"Shockingly beautiful...Kessler takes our breath away."

-- The Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Migratory birds flutter through Brad Kessler's elegant new novel, an avian metaphor for the strength of the human spirit."

-- The Economist

"Some books get better with rereading. Brad Kessler's lyrical Birds in Fall is one of them. Birds in flight and humans in free fall are this novel's engines of grace."

-- O, The Oprah Magazine

"A tender, contemplative, lyrical novel."

-- San Francisco Chronicle

"Exquisite and erudite...a luminous tribute to Kessler's abiding and respectful faith in the power of storytelling."

-- Los Angeles Times