ONE BIRD by Kyoko Mori


Age Range: 13 & up
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 Megumi, 15, in the course of the crisis precipitated by her parents' divorce, tells readers of her relationships with her mother, father, and friends; examines role models; falls in love; and heals many birds. Every character is three-dimensional and memorable, people that readers will recognize from their own lives, although the Japanese setting leaves an unmistakable imprint: Custom demands that Megumi live with her father, who forbids her to visit her mother until she comes of age; she is a Christian who has ceased to believe in God. The unhurried coolness of the text is luminously punctuated by Mori (Shizuko's Daughter, 1993) with the names of flowers, descriptions of birds, and poetic chapter titles. Although the themes flow out of one another by free association in a way that is typical of a first-person narration, each paragraph obeys a rigorous inner logic so that every word is enunciated and no detail is slurred. The trajectory of the plot is straightforward, starting at an emotional low point and building without big twists or turns; as a result, readers become especially sensitive to the small occurrences, each one telling. The text gains an intensity from the discipline with which every detail of this accomplished work is orchestrated, from the first page to the last. (Fiction. 13+)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-8050-2983-4
Page count: 232pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1995