cover image Bird


Noy Holland. Counterpoint (PGW, dist.), $24 (176p) ISBN 978-1-61902-564-6

In her powerful debut novel, Holland (What Begins with Bird) tells the story of Bird, a mother and wife who, over the course of an innocuous weekday, reminisces about her drug-fueled spell with Mickey, a past flame, after a telephone call from an old friend, Suzie, tips her off to his latest escapades. Alternating between past and present, Bird mentally slips into her former life—a time of squatting in rundown buildings, risky sex, suffering a miscarriage, traveling cross-country, and encountering odd characters—as her contemporary self watches her son board the school bus and, later, soaks in the tub with her infant daughter, in Bird’s rural home in a vague Northeast setting. Telephone conversations with Suzie, who is embracing the wild existence Bird abandoned, bridge the eventually blurring time lines and result in a surreal journey. Holland crafts a deceptive narrative, one that on the surface appears to chronicle the dreariness of domesticity, yet ultimately transforms itself into a densely layered tale of lust and ache, filled with touches of the bizarre. A fascinating novel. (Nov.)