Crook’s Corner Book Prize for Best Debut Novel Set in the South, 2015
Chautauqua Prize Finalist, 2015
Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize Long List, 2014
SIBA Book Award Long List, 2015
Independent Publisher Book Award, Bronze Medal for Literary Fiction, 2015
Balcones Fiction Prize Finalist, 2015
A Bloggers Recommend Pick
A Wake County Libraries Book Club Kit Selection
“You and me, we aren’t like everybody else.”
Addie Lockwood believes in books. Roland Rhodes believes in blues guitar. Coming of age in the small-town South of the 1970s, they form an unlikely friendship.
They meet again in their disillusioned thirties, this time in California, where Roland’s music career has landed him. Venice Beach is exotic, a world away from North Carolina and Addie’s cloistered life as a bookstore clerk. Over a whirlwind New Year’s weekend she falls in love with the place, if not with Roland.
When she comes home pregnant, reality sets in. Conflicted, unready to be a mother, she gives birth and surrenders her baby for adoption without telling Roland, and without imagining how the secret will shape their lives.
Told through sharply drawn vignettes and Addie’s letters to her absent son, Byrd is an unforgettable story about making and living with the most difficult, intimate, and far-reaching choices.
What others are saying:
“Brilliant writing—lively and heartbreaking at every turn.”
– Jill McCorkle, New York Times bestselling author of Life After Life
“At its root Byrd is about heartbreak, loss, and being lonely. The triumph here is that Kim Church’s remarkable skill turns these dark human realities into the stuff of praise song, and plain song, and blues song. It made me shout and holler. What a truly lyrical achievement in prose.”
– Randall Kenan, National Book Critics Circle Award finalist and author of Let the Dead Bury Their Dead and A Visitation of Spirits
“There is a strength and power in Church’s writing, and a deft and delicate touch.” – Chautauqua Prize Committee
“A riveting debut. Kim Church is a very talented writer.”
– Ron Rash, New York Times bestselling author of Serena and Nothing Gold Can Stay
“Addie is a particular woman—a character that will linger and grow beloved—but she could also be your sister, your roommate from college, a friend in the neighborhood. She’s still struggling in her thirties to make sense of old loves and loss that keeps cycling back into her life. A successful woman in the world, her heart remains in flux until love that can’t be budged finally takes root in her. Kim Church has imagined a world of good people missing the mark as good people sometimes do. They’re familiar, a comfort. I will never forget the impact of the final pages.”
– Patricia Henley, National Book Award finalist and author of Other Heartbreaks
“This protagonist is so appealing, with her unflinching moral candor, her mistakes based on generous instincts. The prose is lilting, joyous. This novel—about young lives that start out full of promise, falter, then recover—is a hard luck story that will make you feel good.”
– Debra Monroe, author of On the Outskirts of Normal: Forging a Family Against the Grain
“Fresh, riveting, and brilliantly written. The richly layered story explores motherhood and its attendant relationships in ways that break new ground, both stylistically and thematically. Already recognized for her work in the short story form, Kim Church should gain national attention with this original and important novel.”
– Angela Davis-Gardner, author of Butterfly’s Child and Plum Wine
“Beautiful, dream-like language … connects us directly with the experience of the characters. It goes right to the heart, without being filtered through the brain, the way a smell connects you to a memory.”
– Nancy Peacock, New York Times Notable author of Life Without Water and The Life & Times of Persimmon Wilson
“Startlingly honest and so well-written it will bleed the ink from your underlining pen.”
– Travis Mulhauser, author of Sweetgirl