Winner of the 2015 Crook's Corner Book Prize Chautauqua Prize Finalist Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize Long List Independent Publisher Book Award, Bronze Medal for Literary Fiction SIBA Book Award Long List Balcones Fiction Prize Finalist
Addie Lockwood believes in books. Roland Rhodes believes in blues guitar. Coming of age in the small-town South of the 1970s, they form a friendship as extraordinary as it is unlikely.
They meet again in their disillusioned thirties, this time in California, where Roland's music career has landed him. Venice Beach is exotic, a world away from North Carolina and Addie's cloistered life as a bookstore clerk. Over a whirlwind New Year's weekend she falls in love with the place, if not with Roland.
When she comes home pregnant, reality sets in. Conflicted, unready to be a mother, she gives birth to a son--Byrd--and surrenders him for adoption without telling Roland, and without imagining how the secret will shape their lives.
Told through letters and sharply drawn vignettes, Byrd is an unforgettable story about making and living with the most difficult, intimate, and far-reaching choices.
At its root Byrd is about heartbreak, loss, and being lonely. The triumph here is that Kim Church's remarkable skill turns these dark human realities into the stuff of praise song, and plain song, and blues song. It made me shout and holler. What a truly lyrical achievement in prose. - Randall Kenan, National Book Critics Circle Award finalist and author of Let the Dead Bury Their Dead and A Visitation of Spirits