An intimate portrait of five inextricably linked lives, spanning one calendar year at Kew Gardens in London.
Nothing is set in stone. A bird can be refolded into a boat, a fish, a kimono, or any other extravagant vision. At other times it aches to return to its original folds. The paper begins to fray. It tires, rebels.
After the sudden death of his wife, Audrey, Jonah sits on a bench in Kew Gardens, trying to reassemble the shattered pieces of his life.
Chloe, shaven-headed and abrasive, finds solace in the origami she meticulously folds. But when she meets Jonah, her carefully constructed defenses threaten to fall.
Milly, a child quick to laugh, freely roams Kew, finding beauty everywhere she goes. But where is her mother and where does she go when the gardens are closed?
Harry’s purpose is to save plants from extinction. Quiet and enigmatic, he longs for something — or someone — who will root him more firmly to the earth.
Audrey links these strangers together. As the mystery of her death unravels, the characters journey through the seasons to learn that stories, like paper, can be refolded and reformed. Haunted by songs and origami birds, this novel is a love letter to a garden and a hymn to lost things.
After studying theater and film at Bristol University, Tor Udall co-founded a dance-theatre company and spent most of her twenties directing, writing, and performing. A theater piece she directed won the opportunity to be performed on the Olivier stage at the National Theatre, and she also choreographed an opera for the Royal College of Music. She lives in London with her husband and two young children. A Thousand Paper Birds is her first novel.