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Birds of Wonder

Cynthia Robinson

Top 10 Best Quotes

“Two long, curved feathers, one crossed over the other, stripes of creamy beige and brown blending into the grass flattened by the girl’s head. From an owl—no mistaking the comb-like flutings along the outer edge. “Fimbriae”—Jes could almost hear her father—“so its flight will be silent.”

“It was then that she saw the curl. A lovely, shiny curl of hair the color of coral tea roses that wrapped itself around twigs and weeds, and then disappeared beneath an overgrown forsythia. So very Pre-Raphaelite! Beatrice reached to touch the curl, brushing the weeds aside. Nothing could have prepared her for the image of the peacock. Suddenly, there it was: tail-feathers fully unfurled, luminous blues and greens shimmering between blades of grass.”

“When his mother first came back to earth she’d been a sparrow; Waldo had fed her—stale bits of scavenged cereal, through the wire and bars on his window. Now she was an owl.”

“The scratch of his pencil across good paper—the best paper, which he couldn’t afford; his bills were late, his credit in tatters—was the only sound in the room. Edward shaded from dark to light and back to dark again, across the rounded orb beneath the lid, the fine indentation of temple thrown into shadow by the early light creeping across the walls of the boathouse. For the fringe of lashes, he held the pencil point at a glancing angle—Edward imagined a gray moth, wings folded, perched on his sister’s peaceful cheek.”

“The chances of a she-perp were pretty minimal; in cases like this one, women were exponentially more likely to be the victims. Which was not exactly news. But there were so many more ways now for the creeps to identify and pursue targets, just being a girl constituted a significant risk factor.”

“The Filomela tale was one of Beatrice’s favorites. Thereus, King of Thrace, having won the hand of Filomela’s older sister Procne after routing the Barbarians at the gates of Athens, saw that his bride was lonely in her new home. Thinking to cheer her, Thereus brought Filomela to his court, but the young Filomela’s beauty clouded the king’s judgment. That’s always how it was told, the girl’s fault for being young. Possessed by uncontrollable lust, Thereus forced himself upon his sister-in-law. He then cut out her tongue, locked her in a dungeon, and told his wife her sister was dead.”

“The Amber girl had made him late. Stumbling on her under the tree, nearly falling on her beauty. Eye-tipped blue feathers twining her wrist, Waldo had bowed, kissed the ground—the all-knowing peacock. Friend of the angels, his mother had said, their messenger; Amber was their seeing stone.”

“Jes looked toward the house. Nice back porch. Perfect for Saturday morning brunch and the New York Times in matching spa robes. No thanks. Just the sex, please.”

“He’d been so sure he’d never cheat, contemptuous of friends and colleagues who risked perfectly good marriages because they couldn’t keep their pants zipped. Until that night at the new pub across from the courthouse, when Detective Jesca Ashton had grinned at him from down the bar, hair waving to her waist, China-doll teeth glinting in the dim light. When he was young he’d had a thing for long hair.”

“Don’t leave town”—she’d said that right before she left, preceded by “person of interest.” And the girl’s face was there too. Amber Inglin’s pretty, scared face, dropped into his mind like a quarter into the coke machine Frank insisted they have for the crew. The girl, lying in his field, decay already starting—it was hot. Imagining flies attracted by the sweetish smell of recent death, he fought off nausea. The line of trees at the back of the eastern vineyard wavered into a strange, watery mirage. Or maybe she wasn’t there anymore—they’d have removed her by now, to the coroner’s, or a morgue.”

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Book Keywords:

family, feathers, sparrow, tales, book-quotes, birds, victim, siblings, owl, magazines, new-york-times, peacock, animals, house, book-quote, life, stories, nature, investigation, women, color, feeding

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