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Monday, May 14, 2012

Abu-Jaber's Soaring 'Birds of Paradise'

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The sunny city of Miami takes center stage in Diana Abu-Jaber's engrossing new novel, Birds of Paradise. The Florida hot spot becomes the backdrop for a dynamic familial tale of identity, loss and forgiveness. The Muirs are a typical yet fractured American family: mother Avis, a talented pastry chef; father Brian, a real estate attorney; son Stanley, owner of a trendy new food market; and daughter Felice, now approaching 18 years old. Felice ran away from home when she was just 13. Five years after the devastating disappearance, the family must reckon with Felice's reasons for leaving and face the anguish and sense of betrayal caused by the departure. Each family member narrates chapters in a dramatic story that revolves around Felice.

Birds of Paradise
is a complex story of a family coming apart—and hoping to find their way back together.

Abu-Jaber is the best-selling author of the novels Origin and Crescent, as well as the award-winning memoir The Language of Baklava. She currently teaches at Portland State University. Abu-Jaber will speak at Boswell Book Co. on May 22 at 7 p.m.

Local author Kathie Giorgio will read from her new book, Enlarged Hearts, at Books & Co. in Oconomowoc on Thursday, May 17, at 7 p.m. Enlarged Hearts, a collection of connected short stories, has been nominated for the Paterson Fiction Award.