Bird: A Novel

Bird: A Novel

by Noy Holland


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Bird: A Novel by Noy Holland

This is a novel about the persistence of longing in which the twin lives of the title character blur and overlap. Bird puts her child on the bus for school and passes the day with her baby. Interwoven into the passage of the day are phone calls from a promiscuous, unmarried friend, and Bird’s recollection of the feral, reckless love she knew as a young woman. It’s a day infused with fear and longing, an exploration of the ways the past shapes and dislodges the present.

In the present moment, Bird dutifully cares for her husband, infant, older child. But at the same time Bird inhabits this rehabilitated domestic life, she re-lives an unshakeable passion: Mickey, the lover she returns to with what feels like a migratory impulse, Mickey, whose movements and current lovers she still tracks. With Mickey, she slummed and wandered—part-time junkie, tourist of the low-life—a life of tantalizing peril. This can’t last, Bird thought, and it was true.

Noy Holland’s writing is lyrical, fired by a heightened eroticism in which every sight and auditory sensation is charged with arousal. The writing in this book – Noy Holland’s first novel — is fearless in its depiction of sexual appetite and obsessive love. It sheds light on the terror of abandonment and the terrible knowledge that we are helpless to protect not only ourselves but the people we most love.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781619028272
Publisher: Counterpoint Press
Publication date: 10/11/2016
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 1,287,108
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Noy Holland is the author of three story collections, Swim for the Little One First , What Begins with Bird , and The Spectacle of the Body. Recipient of fellowships from the NEA, the MacDowell Colony and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, she teaches writing in the graduate program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Read an Excerpt

He crossed her wrists behind her, walked her into the room. She was gowned in a towel from the tub, damp still, the day passing – cold, the green fust blown. The city was flattened, looked to be; it was a poster of itself, grainy, famous in any light. He walked her where she could see it, where she could see the breidge, the man on a thread descending, his tiny pointed flame. She saws the hot blue branmble of wleder’s sparks fizzing out over the river. Across the river: the fabulous city.
He had set screw eyes in the floor. The floor was grooved, adrift with hair, the deep tarry blue of the ocean. He trained the heater on a patch of floor to warm the boards she would lie on. He pulled the towel off, helped her down in stages, onto her knees, her back.
The boards were gummy; they smelled of paint. They smelled of his dog who leked in her sleep. She let him tie her—wrist and wrist and ankles. As he wished. He arranged her as he wished. He spread out her hair like a headdress, tall, like grass the wind has knocked down. He turned her toes out. he turned her wrists up when he tied her.
Something small—a bird—several—wobbled, blown behind her, the flock a scattering of ash in the wind in the cold above the river, the barges moored. The garbage scow. He lifted her head, knotted the scarf at the back of her head, the scarf snug across her eyes, her motehr’s scarf, across her mouth and nose. The scarf smelled of her mother. He trained the heater on her, and the cooling fan, oscillating, faint. He lit a candle, tipped it into the wind the fan made, and the wax blew hot, dispersing—sparkler, pod, nematocyste, a burn that lights and shrinks. He let the wax ound on the skin of her wrists—to merk the place, or seal it: here was the first place he touched her. Here was the mineral seep, the drip in the cave, the years passing. Here a notch—where the tendons o fher neck knit into her chest and the wax would catch and pool. He said nothing. He scarcely touched her. Thrust into her once and walked out.
She heard him go. Two doors, the last stairs, hello on the the stoop, he was gone.

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