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The Bird Room. Chris Killen
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The Bird Room. Chris Killen

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3.22 of 5 stars 3.22  ·  rating details  ·  247 ratings  ·  51 reviews

Painfully average and introverted Will finally has a bird. Her name is Alice. She's smart, sexy, and much to Will's surprise, she is in love with him. But the course of love never did run smooth, and soon devotion—and its uglier manifestations—lead Will to a dark place within himself.

Elsewhere in the city, Helen is an actress—or she will be some day. For now, she finds w

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Paperback, 202 pages
Published April 1st 2009 by Canongate Books (first published January 1st 2009)
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Jim
Most of the marketing quips for this book praise its dark comic aspect. It's dark comedy as Brett Easton Ellis' Less Than Zero was comic; vacuous, emotionally crippled twenty-somethings finding a place in a world where sex is devalued and true intimacy appears painfully out of reach. Imagine the angst ridden teens of any Green Day song coming of age.
To be sure, Killen is a skilled writer. His characters are well defined, even those representing grist for the protagonist's delusional mill. He's p...more
Tara Chevrestt
You ever get those nasty porn pictures or videos on your cell phone of men or women doing disgusting things for all the world to pass phone to phone or video to video? Maybe someone sends them to you as a joke, for the shock value, most likely a co worker watching you from across the room eagerly awaiting to see the look on your face when you open you phone? If you have received those kind of pictures/videos, you have probably at some time wondered, "who are these people? why do they do this?" Y...more
Socrates Adams
Sep 03, 2008 Socrates Adams rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyway
Recommended to Socrates by: No One
I read the bird room in two hours and thirty two minutes on a national express coach on my way to a holiday. The book is better than the entire holiday so far, even though I have three days left. The book is a slim but thorough examination of helplessness, anxiety and self destruction. It is beautiful in its clarity and humour. The Bird Room is written in a style that is understated which gives it a poetic quality that can't be brought about with more elaborate prose. It is a love story.

That's m...more
Djrmel
(Discosure: I received this book for free through the Goodreads First Reads Program)

What started out as a really good dark humor story devolved into a much less complex, although definetly darker, observational narrative. Killen has written some deeply flawed characters, and as much as I love flawed characters, that's not enough to make up for a plot that ends about 2/3 of the way through the book for one of the main characters and goes absolutely nowhere for the rest of the characters. This mig...more
Laura
When describing this book, I would have to say 'intriguingly bizarre.' It's a quirky plot and the characters are interesting enough. It takes a strange look at relationships and the behaviour of the characters is sometimes surprising. Overall, I don't think I completely got it. However, I couldn't stop reading. There was something about it that made me want to read until the end; even though I found the ending slightly confusing. An interesting read. If you like off the wall plots then you'll li...more
Brandon
one of my favorite novels
Audrey
NOTE: I actually gave this 3 1/2 stars

I thought that maybe putting a little time between the end of this book and my review would give me more clarification on how I felt, but nope. I still think that it was just weird. Did I enjoy reading it? Yes! Did I LIKE it? Maybe yes, maybe no. Because really, it was just plain weird.

My favorite thing about this book was that I absolutely adored the writing style. It was one of those books where you sort of feel like the main character is talking to you wh...more
Karrie Stallings
If you loved the film Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind then I highly recommend this book. Lovingly dark, and hilarious it puts you behind the eyes and hearts of Helen & Will, two separate people being pulled through their own flaws & finding comfort in others. The scenery, the language, the style, I loved it all. It IS graphic and frankly more believable that way. These people are not sheltered, they are real. And they are fully aware & accept total responsibility for getting th...more
Gina
Oct 22, 2008 Gina rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Lots of people
How happy I was to read this, and it didn't disappoint which makes me more happy.

I wonder if it's possible for a character to some how drown from his own neurosis? I imagine it'd be a slow and painful demise as Will's suffering from a terminal case of self-annihilation, the method of death is the steady drip of anxiety.
Despite Will's case of the Unbearable (Un)Likeness of Will, I found myself strangely content when following his strange plight. What does that say about me? Actually when readin...more
Ani Smith
'Reviewing' this book makes me think of words like inventive, short, dreamlike, sharp. Each little sentence erupts with meaning on a giant splash of my favourite things: characters with 'rich internal lives', no outright 'morals' to 'impart', lots of honest, awkward, sometimes beautiful sex, and sparse, direct language that makes your heart flutter.
Brian Centrone
I saw early drafts of this novel. It was interesting to read the published version and see all the changes etc. Chris did a really good job pushing comforts levels I didn't even know I had - and if you knew me, you know that's saying something. I can't wait for the follow up. Chris is one to watch.
Kez_70
It started off quite funny, but I lost track of what was happening and who it was happening to, when the timeline shifted. I could go back and read it again, but I'm not sure I can be bothered. I ended up feeling as depressed and purposeless as the characters in it.
Anton Roe

Best book I've read this year. fast paced, exciting, intriguing....read start to finish in one sitting! can't wait to see what Chris Killen produces next
Vickie
Oct 12, 2008 Vickie marked it as to-read
Been wanting to read this since the summer when CHDClarke told me about... Hurry up.
Matt
I liked it. But I have a feeling i will read this again and I will love it.
lisa
the synopsis of this book (and the cover) really drew me in. a smart and sexy debut book with the unexpected relationship, it promised to be a dark and modern love story. and although the writing was good and the raw and graphic portrayal of their relationship was quick and easy reading, the book just fell flat for me in the end. it’s not that it was bad, but it just left me with a bad taste in my mouth, like i’d just thrown up or eaten something that was rotten.

the story centers on Will, our na...more
Alisha Marie
I received The Bird Room as part the First Reads giveaways and I found that it was sort of bizarre. At first look, you think you get a humorous love story. But then it delves into something depressing and a tad bit profound.

While reading this, I found myself amused at first, and then deeply confused as to where exactly this story was going. It has two separate plots: one of Will and the other of Helen/Clair and then you see how those two plots weave together (and when it did, I found myself laug...more
Amy
I had a momentary loss of self-control in a bookshop and had to have this after reading the first couple of jaw-droppingly good pages. And although the writing is still as tight and fast in the rest of the book, the feeling just wasn't the same.

I don't know how to begin explaining this plot but then again, I rarely do in these reviews. You can get the gist of the themes of broken people telling lies and having sex from Amazon, if you really need to. People are cruel and mess up. We know this alr...more
Lori
Reviewer copy.

It was a quickly paced, bizarre story about an unemployed self conscious young man named Will, who finally finds love with Alice, only to have his heart broken because he can't leave well enough alone.

Told from Will's point of view, we are plunged head first into his dark and twisted mind. We are cringing at the unchecked jealousy over his best friend - also named Will. We are watching as he pushes Alice away from him and straight into the other Will's arms. We are shaking our head...more
Katya
Eh, I don't know. I feel like I've become a very discerning reader, or maybe I'm just hyper-critical. I didn't really enjoy this book. It promised a lot of things and didn't deliver on most of them. Most of the characters are under-developed. We don't know anything about Will, other than he is painfully shy and awkward - but why? We don't know anything about Alice other than she lied about her family and loves Will - but why? We don't know anything about the other Will, the artist, other than he...more
Tara
This book was confusing, but in an intended way. It was one of those books that when I finished it I was not sure if I knew what truly happened, but that was okay and I almost felt that was what the author wanted. He wanted to blur the lines between the characters so that you were unsure how things really turned out. This included jumping from the middle of the story to the beginning and then ending with the end, where you were left with 4 characters that may have been 2 or 3.

If this was not th...more
Ozgul Gulerman
I read it just out of curiosity. I really don't see the point. The author tried to make a twisted relationship web and leave it that way but it is so obvious that he is trying so hard to do that. It is a very easy reading book though. If you are travelling on a bus or train take it with you. It is easy to carry anyways :)
Zac
I must confess that I was really excited by the premise of this book, it also has beautiful cover design. The fact that this was the author's first book was also exciting. However, what I found between the cover was bleak, negative and disappointing. According to the blurb on the book there was dark humour in the story, I did not find this. All the characters I felt were easily forgettable, and impossible to like. It made for uncomfortable reading, and while I acknowledge that stories need to to...more
Maya Panika
A book about nothing. Or rather, plenty happens, but it’s mostly in the head of Will #1, chief protagonist. Other characters have their say too, but mostly via Will’s perspective as he slowly breaks down under the weight of his girlfriend’s infidelity, his joblessness and general sense of worthlessness.

It’s not a happy story, and yet it made me laugh out loud several times. Essentially a series of brilliant one-liners running through the mind of an ordinary bloke in the midst of a serious breakd...more
Wilde Sky
A novel about sex / relationships told from a series of viewpoints.

This book started off very well but then the narrative got confusing and it lost me.
DKristin
This book was well written. It had its moments of dark humor. It was interesting. Yet, I still found myself giving it only 3 stars. It was just missing a great deal to me too. Like a proper ending. It left too many questions up in the air. It is one thing to have an open ending to a book but an entirely different thing to really not give any kind of indication what the heck I just read and what is going to happen next just seemed too jarring to me. At the end I found myself asking what was the p...more
Paul
This is a quick book to read, most people will complete it in a day or two. I found it extremely engrossing and for me it was about how it can be difficult to maintain emotional relationships. The protagonist creates his own world of internal dialogue and rapidly loses touch with reality as his paranoia takes over. I found it very convincing. I was also amused by how different metaphors the author managed to use to describe things or people as cold!

Another 100 pages would have made it an even b...more
Marjanne
Bleh. This seems like one of those books that is considered daring or noteworthy just because of the topic and not necessarily because of any other writing merit. I did not identify with any of the characters. I don't especially see the point of what the author is trying to 'say' (if anything). It is highly unlikely I would read anything by this author again. On the plus side, it was short and quick and only wasted a little bit of my time.
Mary Beth
I really had a hard time getting into this one. The story shifts characters and time throughout the book (not to mention the two male characters share the same name) so I was utterly confused for awhile as to what was going on. The story itself was painful and sad, but I couldn't identify with any of the characters, nor did I like any very much. The book was quite easy to get through, but I have to say I didn't really like it overall.
Anna Howorth
I liked this book. A bit strange. I wasn't sure quite what was happening. At the end I wasn't sure if I'd gone back to the beginning. I wasn't even sure how many characters there were. Were there 4 people/2 couples, or were they the same 2 people in different phases/guises? Who knows.

All the same, an enjoyable read. Dark and thought-provoking.
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My second novel, In Real Life, will be published on Jan 15th 2015 by Canongate. My first novel, The Bird Room, was published in 2009.
More about Chris Killen...
In Real Life De vogelkamer The Bird Room In Real Life Born in the 1980s

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