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The Bird Room

3.15  ·  Rating details ·  353 ratings  ·  64 reviews
Alice is at work. Alice thinks I'm at work. I'm not at work.
I'm trying to guess the password to her email account . . .

When Will meets Alice, he can't believe his luck. She's smart, sexy and, much to Will's surprise, in love with him. Alice brings meaning to his urban existence. But true love never came easy and soon devotion leads Will to something darker. The Bird Room
Paperback, 208 pages
Published January 21st 2010 by Canongate Books (first published January 1st 2009)
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Average rating 3.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  353 ratings  ·  64 reviews

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Jan 19, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gr-giveaway-wins
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
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
Jun 15, 2015 rated it did not like it
Clive James once said that to be a lousy writer takes energy: average novelists remain unread not for being bad but for being flat. Although written with Judith Krantz in mind, the same easily applies to Chris Killen.

The tale's too similar to the teller. It's like those ghosts in folk tales - caught between worlds, adrift, affectless. It's no accident that words like 'ghost', 'insubstantial', and 'absent' dominate. Will, the main character attracts these terms the way a magnet attracts iron fili
Socrates Adams
Sep 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
one of my favorite novels
(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
Feb 18, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Mar 23, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 19, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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 themselves the ...more
Apr 09, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Apr 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ani Smith
Dec 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'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. ...more
Brian Centrone
Jul 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Cheli Barfus
Mar 06, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was muffed up big time!! I really wouldn't recommend this book at all. It jumped from place to place I really couldn't follow it all that well. oh well at least it only had 202 pages in it!! ...more
May 11, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: library
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. ...more
Oct 12, 2008 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Been wanting to read this since the summer when CHDClarke told me about... Hurry up.
Anton Roe
Dec 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, 5-stars

Best book I've read this year. fast paced, exciting, start to finish in one sitting! can't wait to see what Chris Killen produces next
Feb 27, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked it. But I have a feeling i will read this again and I will love it.
Alyce Hunt
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: adult-fiction, debuts

I might write a full review of this book at some point in the next few days, but until then I'm just going to feel bemused/confused about it.

EDIT 04/07/18:

I wasn't sure whether to review The Bird Room or not, because it's an... Interesting story. My copy is in pretty bad condition so I was only reading it before donating it to a charity shop, which means I'm not too disappointed that I didn't enjoy it, but it's also been playing heavily on my mind for the past couple of days because I have l
Mar 18, 2021 rated it liked it
The Bird Room follows the uncertain course of love of two separate individuals. Will, who has never had a steady girl, finds love when Alice spends the night and doesn’t leave. Claire reinvents herself as Helen, an actress, or so she dreams, in the meantime she’ll take what comes.

This is a strange yet alluring novel. First impression is it will be a slight and flippant tale, yet it is hard not to be drawn following Will’s witty first-person narrative. He can’t quite believe he is living with a s
Angie Annetts
Mar 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Clever, Kooky and BRILLIANT!
This little novel pressed my reading pleasure buttons; oddball, funny, disturbing and poignant, and has remained with me after finishing. I believe each individual reader is left to determine what actually unravels - but this in no way distracts from a tale of obsession and self-destruction.
Having worshiped at the altars of Miranda July and Tibor Fischer, the work of Chris Killen falls somewhere between the two - and for my ten bob's worth; it doesn't get much better
Nov 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
I got this book as part of the LibraryThing early reviewers programme. Killen's use of language is very deft and clever and his characters well painted, but I was ultimately disappointed that something billed as a comedy wasn't really that funny; most of the humour derives from the increasingly psychotic way Will behaves as he becomes increasingly secure about his relationship, but ultimately I found that that made me cringe rather than laugh.

So not a book that suited me then, but equally not a
Katie Percival
Oct 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Liked reading about the inner lives and imaginary worlds of two introverted characters.
Disliked that this book was too short. I would have liked to find out what happens next and I was waiting for Will's (the artist) explanation of his project.
Mariam AlAnsari
Enjoyed the easy reading language in the book, the beginning was nice the details were beautiful but then the novel took another path which I did not really enjoy.
Dave P
May 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very funny scenes of social anxiety.
Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Read like a darker take on a Peep Show episode in the best way possible.
Apr 18, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A novel written by Chris Killen. Very easy to read. Can't stop reading! ...more
Mar 14, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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I am the author of the novels In Real Life (2015) and The Bird Room (2009).

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