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Our Discussion of The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez

The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez

A mysterious child lands in the care of a solitary woman, changing both of their lives forever in this captivating debut of connection across space and time.

"This is when your life begins."

Nia Imani is a woman out of place and outside of time. Decades of travel through the stars are condensed into mere months for her, though the years continue to march steadily onward for everyone she has ever known. Her friends and lovers have aged past her; all she has left is work. Alone and adrift, she lives only for the next paycheck, until the day she meets a mysterious boy, fallen from the sky.

A boy, broken by his past.

The scarred child does not speak, his only form of communication the beautiful and haunting music he plays on an old wooden flute. Captured by his songs and their strange, immediate connection, Nia decides to take the boy in. And over years of starlit travel, these two outsiders discover in each other the things they lack. For him, a home, a place of love and safety. For her, an anchor to the world outside of herself.

For both of them, a family.

But Nia is not the only one who wants the boy. The past hungers for him, and when it catches up, it threatens to tear this makeshift family apart. Goodreads.

Below are a sampling of our comments:

  • It was weird – I started to be interested after a while, but then lost interest again
  • The author is not big on corporations…
  • I liked the first 2/3rds, especially the fake out of who we assume is the main character but isn’t, but I hated the wanton cruelty at the end
  • Was Nia rescuing Ahro or the other way around?
  • I was cheering for Fumiko to blow everyone up. There was no way for her to get out of her nondisclosure agreement except by dying
  • Jaunting reminded me of Stars My Destination. The folding and pocket space reminded me of origami
  • There were tons of water metaphors and a dirigible!
  • I didn’t like the title or feel that it represented the book very well
  • Why did the woman scorned have to be the betrayer?
  • Cold sleep messed with people’s minds and memories – jaunting could have ameliorated that, but at what cost?
  • Ahro was drawn back to the first planet because he was a native of that planet – he knew the lullaby and the songs from before he was taken away to the quiet ship
  • I liked music as homing instinct – it was like music therapy where people who can’t speak can still sing
  • I enjoyed Nia’s haikus, and that she taught Ahro and he used them when he was a prisoner
  • The author tried to balance pessimism with humanity, and argued against the privatization of space exploration where all the pilots become Uber drivers

Please add any additional thoughts or comments you have about The Vanished Birds. We gave this title the codes HOME, CUL, HIT, ETH, FEM, LIT, DRG & INC and an average rating of 3.4.

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