I have a thing for birds. They crop up in my writing often. I am enchanted by birdsong. I sometimes imagine that they are ghosts of those who’ve passed. So, when I opened The Astonishing Color of After, Emily X R Pan’s astonishing new book, and read the first sentence, “My mother is a bird,” I was hooked. And it turns out the main character’s mother really is a bird, a big red ghost of a bird.
I raced my way through the book in my typical ‘I’ll just read one more chapter’ sort of way until hours had passed and I hadn’t moved, caught up in the story’s trance.
And then I got to this page, a powerful passage, a pivotal point in the story. Just at the moment I arrived here, I was startled by a bird whizzing past my head in the back yard, smashing full force into the glass slider, falling to the ground and swooping fast away. It left behind one small, downy feather that landed on my book.
Sometimes life is very strange.