Birds of Paradise
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, sk...more
There are lush foodie descriptions, of the cakes and pastries baked by the girl's wealthy mother and equally, of the organic foods sold and prepared by the proletarian (also by choice) bro...more
Then about a third of the way in, I was hooked. I couldn't wait to return to the story. The characters grew on me, so much so that I felt like I knew them, understood them. I related to their experiences.
Was it my imagination, or did the writing style become fuller, juicier as the...more
The gist of the novel is about a family living in Coral Gables, Florida. The chapters are told from the viewpoints of different family members. Felice, the protagonist of the novel, is a thirteen year-old runaway who, at first, runs away repeate...more
The pace of this book is slow. There is an infinite amount of detail abou...more
This book is flavored with the language of food. With the disappearance of Felice, both mother and son turn to their love of food and...more
This story involves the four members of a family, each chapter is viewed from a different family member’s perspective. Avis Muir is a brilliant pastry chef, Brian Muir a corporate real estate attorney. Their son, Stanley, is the proprietor of a trendy food market. Their
beautiful daughter, Felice, is missing. A runaway at 13, Felice has spent five years modeling tattoos, sk...more
"Birds of Paradise" is absolutely heart-rending, literary, and downright lyrical in its portrayal of Felice, her family, the ethnic communities of Miami, FL, the social behavior of emotionally immature teenage girls, the fragility of relationship w...more
I personally read as a form of escapism. My book club elected to read this book, though, so I dug in eagerly, hoping to discover a gem I would learn to love. Although I connected with the characters individually and in their interactions with one another, I was left feeling as though all of them were being sheltered, shrouded, and treated as incomplete entitie...more
The story shifts point of...more
This is a book about choices. Instead of relying on each other, the people in this family lead very separate lives and stife tears them apart rather than bringing them together. But they realize how much th...more
and their surroundings. Its about a couple with 2 kids, a boy and a girl.
The father is a lawyer, mother is a baker working out of her home, Stanley
is the older of the kids & Felice is the youngest. Felice runs away from
home at the age of 13 and becomes a street kid. You don't know why until
quite late in the story. Its written in chapters from the familys point of
view, how the father buries himself in his work, the son strive...more
Unfortunately this book did not deliver: I have read about half, and have decided not to finish. The writing seemed messy at a micro level, and I constantly felt like I wanted to brush away words and phrases to get to the actual story. The characte...more
The writing is very good and beautiful in many parts. I especially enjoyed the descriptions of food and especially baking. The author is clear and very touching in her writing.
The tone is sad and depressing. Given that the book centers around how a family copes with having a...more
The setting is Florida and the book is told in chapters with a different family member the center of each chapter. Felice is the thirteen year old runaway who is the main character in the s...more
In her newest book, author Diana Abu-Jaber tells the story of a runaway daughter, Felice, and the effect of her absence on her mother, father, and brother. Abu-Jaber explores the issues of adolescent cruelty, parental self-absorption, and hidden histories of political violence and tragedy. She joins us to discuss the novel.
Diana Abu-Jaber: Author and professor at Portland State University. Her books include The Language of Baklava, Origin, and Cresce...more