Published by Random House LLC on October 17th 2008
A GIRL EASILY carried off by the wind.
An elderly widow whose husband died under strange circumstances.
An isolated dwelling that breeds fear.
Miranda has no recollection of where she came from—only that years ago, a gust of wind deposited her outside Bourne Manor. The Manor’s sole inhabitant, Wysteria Barrows, took Miranda in and promptly outfitted her with special boots—boots weighted with steel bars to keep her anchored to the ground. But aside from shelter and clothing, Miranda receives little warmth from the aging widow. The Manor, too, is a cold place, full of drafts and locked doors. Full of menace. Full of secrets. Then one day a boy named Farley appears. Farley helps Miranda embrace her destiny with the wind . . . and uncover the Manor’s hidden past.From the Hardcover edition.
In all honesty, I am at a loss for words on where to begin with discussing my feelings on this novel. When I sat down and thought about how to describe this novel, one word kept running through my head: unique. Now in most cases, this can be a really great way to describe a novel. But, unfortunately, I am not sure that this applies to Bird.
One aspect that makes this novel unique is that it is told from Miranda’s point of view in the past tense. In some ways, I really liked this change of pace. But for the most part, it felt odd due to the reader never getting to understand where Miranda is in the present. Another aspect that made this an odd read was that the novel continuously builds up the reader for a great reveal, but it never happens. Throughout the novel, it is hinted that the house itself has some mysterious origins… that there is something unique about it… almost as if it is a living creature. Yet this aspect is never explored. It is almost as if the author was at the cusp of this exploration, but at the last second decided to veer off in a different direction.
While most of the novel feel flat for me, I must admit that Murphy does an outstanding job with her characters. I went into this read hoping that the whole novel would be whimsical, but I am happy to settle with just the characters fitting this description. Miranda was a very fun character. Her background and family history are left very mysterious, and all that is really known about her is that she is often carried off by the wind. I found her affinity with the wind to be totally adorable. Add in her love of kites… and I was totally sold on Miranda. She was cute with a capital C.
In the end, Bird was not exactly what I was expecting, but there were definitely parts of the novel that I loved. I believe that if the novel had been extended by about 50-100 pages, then Murphy would have been able to fully explore more of the questions that currently do not have answers. Or hopefully, there is a sequel in the works cause I would definitely love to see more of Miranda.