A multilayered, beautifully textured novel about family and self, self-indulgence and generosity, against the vivid backdrop of contemporary Miami.
In the tropical paradise that is Miami, Avis and Brian Muir are still haunted by the disappearance of their ineffably beautiful daughter, Felice, who ran away when she was thirteen. Now, after five years of modeling tattoos, skateboarding, clubbing, and sleeping in a squat house or on the beach, Felice is about to turn eighteen. Her familyAvis, an exquisitely talented pastry chef; Brian, a corporate real estate attorney; and her brother, Stanley, the proprietor of Freshly Grown, a trendy food marketwill each be forced to confront their anguish, loss, and sense of betrayal. Meanwhile, Felice must reckon with the guilty secret that drove her away, and must face her fear of losing her family and her sense of self forever.
This multilayered novel about a family that comes apart at the seamsand finds its way together againis totally involving and deeply satisfying, a glorious feast of a book.
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"Starred Review. In this provocative exploration of the fault lines of loyalty and guilt, Abu-Jabers searing perceptions, particularly about parents and children, more than make up for a less than convincing ending or an occasional lapse into overlabored prose." - Kirkus
"In Birds of Paradise Abu-Jaber skillfully matches setting with story to create an atmospheric whole. The anxiety and threat of destruction are palpable in the city and in the family; readers will be eager to step into the story, hoping for a satisfying conclusion for the characters they've come to know." - Shelf Awareness
"In the wide grasp of this story, the author has captured a dynamic city defined by booms and busts and racial conflicts in a stew of different cultures. But with its searching portrayal of a single family in silent crisis, Birds of Paradise explores every parent's unspoken fear: our children's capacity to destroy us on a whim." - The Washington Post, Ron Charles
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Diana Abu-Jaber is the author of several novels, including Arabian Jazz, Crescent, and Birds of Paradise. Crescent was awarded the 2004 PEN Center USA Award for Literary Fiction and the Before Columbus Foundation's American Book Award and was named one of the twenty best novels of 2003 by The Christian Science Monitor. Arabian Jazz won the 1994 Oregon Book Award and was nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award.
She is also the author of a memoir, The Language of Baklava, and Origin (2007) the first in a new mystery series staring Lena, a highly gifted, intuitive fingerprint expert.
She teaches at Portland State University and divides her time between Portland and Miami.
Diana Abu-Jaber: AH-boo JAH-ber
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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