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Bird in Hand

“It is both thrilling and terrifying to read this powerful new novel and think: this could be me. Christina Baker Kline takes us on an intimate journey with her characters, one that brings us dangerously close to the hidden truths about love, trust and friendship.”

- Ellen Sussman

What if something happened that made you question everything you took for granted in your life? Bird in Hand opens with a car accident that disturbs the fragile web of relationships between four people, setting in motion a series of events that changes all of their lives.

Four people, two marriages, one lifelong friendship: everything is about to change.

It was an accident. It was dark, it was raining, Alison had only had two drinks. And the other car ran the stop sign. But Alison finds herself trapped under the crushing weight of grief and guilt, feeling increasingly estranged from her husband, Charlie, who has his own burdens. He's in a job he doesn't love so that Alison can stay at home with the kids (and why isn't she more grateful for that?); he has a house in the suburbs and a long commute to and from the city.

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And the only thing he can focus on these days is his secret, sudden affair with Claire, Alison's best friend. Bold where Alison is reserved, vibrant where Alison is cautious, Claire has just had her first novel published, a thinly veiled retelling of her childhood in North Carolina.

But even in the whirlwind of publication, Claire can't stop wondering if she should leave her husband, Ben, an ambitious architect who is brilliant, kind, and meticulous. And who wants nothing more than a baby, or two—exactly the kind of life that Charlie and Alison seem to have.

In each of her novels, Christina Baker Kline has explored how people tell the stories of their lives and what those stories reveal about who they are. As they set out on their individual journeys, Alison, Charlie, Claire, and Ben explore the idea—each in his or her own way—that every moment of loss contains within it the possibility of a new life. Alternating through these four intertwined perspectives, Bird in Hand is a searing novel about friendship, love, marriage, loss, and the choices we make that irrevocably alter everything we believe to be true.

Bird in Hand Q & A

Reading Guide: Bird in Hand

Reviews

"A gripping tale about two crumbling marriages, this novel by the author of The Way Life Should Be offers a realistic and, at times, heartbreaking look at love and friendship."

-Real Simple

“I hesitate to call Kline a ‘serious novelist’ for fear of obscuring her easy style and fluid metaphor-making...but she’s the real deal. Kline dramatizes private life, from the charged crosscurrents of broken families to the robust intimacies of sex, with a generous, knowing appreciation of human nature.”

- Boston Globe

"Kline keeps us glued to the page."

- Newsday

“A razor-sharp novel about love, marriage and obligation.”

- More magazine

“Christina Baker Kline is a relentless storyteller. Once she sets her hook and starts reeling you in, struggle becomes counterproductive. The narrative line is too taut, the angler at the other end too skillful.”

-Richard Russo

“In Bird in Hand, Christina Baker Kline looks at marriage, at parents and children, pain and sorrow, and at all the questions that life asks us. This is a wise and lovely book.”

- Roxana Robinson

“Bird in Hand is more than a novel about friendship, love, marriage, and life-altering choices we can make. Kline explores human nature by writing about love affairs, and twists and turns in her characters’ relationships, to suggest that we might be meant to live more than one life… Insight into family history and dynamics fully develop Kline’s characters in a way that strengthens the novel. It is easy to get absorbed in each character’s motivation and personality.”

- Sacramento Book Review

“Kline’s unflinching gaze and lovely prose set [Bird in Hand] apart from the herd of infidelity/marital ennui novels. It’s well-done, thoughtful and thought-provoking.”

- Publishers Weekly

“[T]he story of four best friends — two couples — whose lives have become hopelessly intertwined; Kline explores the complications of the lines and bonds between marriage and friendship with honest and complex emotions on all four narrative fronts.”

- Booklist

“Bird in Hand explores marriage and infidelity without seeming like a soap opera. This book isn’t so much about what’s happening as why and how it’s happening. A very real exploration of love and marriage, in public and in private, between partners and within the self.”

- Charleston (SC) City Paper

"We loved Bird in Hand, the story of how one traumatic event pulls apart two couples, and sets in motion a chain of events that changes the dynamics of their friendship and eventually, their lives."

- New Jersey Monthly

“Kline’s novel mines the ripple effect of a split second. [She] examines what lies beneath the surface of urban and suburban lives [and] creates characters that evoke the reader’s sympathy.”

- Bangor Daily News

“Kline’s fourth novel exhibits an unsparing eye for the telling details that reveal how people think and act….[A] good book club choice.”

- Library Journal

“It is both thrilling and terrifying to read this powerful new novel and think: this could be me. Christina Baker Kline takes us on an intimate journey with her characters, one that brings us dangerously close to the hidden truths about love, trust and friendship.”

- Ellen Sussman

“What a story! One of those books I was sad to finish. I loved the story and the way everyone takes responsibility for what happens, as tough as the situations are. I particularly loved the story-within-a-story/author element. You are in for a treat.”

- Robin Kall, radio host, “Reading With Robin”

“Bird in Hand explores the lies we allow ourselves to believe and how nothing can be boiled down to a single decision, even if that single decision can reveal all that we’ve tried so hard to mask. Well-written and engaging, realistic and provocative, dark and troubling … [Bird in Hand] is an extraordinary story of Middle America.”

- ArmchairInterviews.com

“The dramatic prologue to this thought-provoking novel grabs you by the throat … This book explores love, friendships, loss, marriage and the choices that we make that can change our lives forever. A wise, powerful and thrilling novel.”

- BookPleasures.com

“In the quietly powerful Bird in Hand, Christina Baker Kline cuts through the delicate lines of marriage and friendship, revealing their fragility.”

- StyleSubstanceSoul.com

“A fast-paced literary read about friendship and marriage. Kline’s novel and I were immediately joined at the eyeballs for a whole day. That’s right. I was the girl on the diet who saw a bowl of M&Ms and scarfed down every last one and then skipped around the room on a sugar high. …Kline’s writing is such a joy that you’ll relish every word. If you love the written word, truly beautiful language, then Kline is your gal…. She writes not from on high, as some literary writers do, writing “down” to you, but with a strong sense of relevancy and spark…. Bird goes one step further, digging deep into our psyches, where the dreams and missteps of our own lives come clearly into
view. How we’ve ended up where we are now may be a mystery to us, but thanks to Kline’s brilliantly assertive novel, we may actually be able to solve it.”

- BookEndBabes.com

“Incredibly engaging … Kline creates a complex narrative to explain the connections and experiences between these four well-developed characters … [She] uses this novel to explore the choices adults make. City life or suburbs. A life without children or a life with. Suitor 1 or Suitor 2. This makes the book refreshingly real.”

- MarnesandNoble.blogspot.com

“I started reading this book yesterday and I finished it this morning. Yes, it was good and read quickly! This is a book about relationships – between spouses and between friends. Very well written. We have some other books by Kline in the library – I will definitely be checking those out too.”

- Indianola (IA) Public Library

“The key to this profound family drama is that Christina Baker Kline does not moderate from her resolute unwavering glimpse at the end of two marriages, through the unblinking eyes of the four protagonists turning seemingly into antagonists.”

- GenreGoRound Reviews.com

"Christina Baker Kline's clean, crisp writing drew me into the novel and I kept reading until my eyes refused to stay open. This is one of those times I wish I belonged to a book club. The discussion would be lively, I'm sure. Bird in Hand is the second novel I've read by Christina Baker Kline, and I look forward to reading another soon."

- Bookfan.com

"The characters are very well-developed, and [Bird in Hand] engages the reader as a result … I felt this was a story that most thirty-something couples could relate to: the compromises young couples face in life, that restless feeling of "is this all there is," regrets of past choices, to have children or not, etc. Honestly, as a baby boomer, I did
not expect to enjoy this story, yet I did. Recommended."

- BibliophileByTheSea.com

"A fine story, extremely well told. A great deal of praise should be bestowed on author Kline for creating characters that adult readers can relate to. At one point in Bird in Hand, Kline writes of Alison’s experiences as a young woman, “It was a strange and magical feeling.” Kline has delivered a strange, unique, magical and borderline
brilliant story. Highly recommended.”

- Joseph’s Reviews (Part 1 Part 2)

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