Birds in Fall by Brad Kessler

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4/5 Stars.

At one point in the novel, Ana Gathreaux, an ornithologist whose husband recently died in a plane crash, describes the kingfisher’s migration: Unlike the other bird species that begin migrating earlier in the fall, the kingfisher lingers for as long as it can. The rivers begin to freeze, and then finally, it too must go.

Birds of Fall is a powerful yet subtle story about grief. About a group of mourning strangers who gather at a remote inn after the plane carrying their loved ones crashes into the nearby sea. Together, they form a unique and impenetrable bond, united by their sorrow. They grieve for as long as they can until, like the kingfisher, the time comes for them to move on.

Appropriately melancholy without feeling melodramatic or twee, this is a moving story about people helping each other through grief and piecing their lives back together in the wake of tragedy.

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