Birds of Paradise by Diana Abu-Jaber


I’m a huge fan of Diana Abu-Jaber’s work and was thrilled to learn that she’s been dividing her time between Portland and Miami! Her latest book, Birds of Paradise, is her first book set in Miami. It was actually published this time last year but baby Q was just born then (more on him later) and he’s only recently allowed me to have a few indulgences, like reading again. Abu-Jaber accurately portrays the grit and glamor of Miami. She sets her character’s conflicted lives in the midst of South Florida’s notorious hurricane season, which is about now. Thank goodness Hurricane Isaac passed us last week, although the ocean is more strikingly beautiful when the waves are crashing than on any calm, sunny day, but I digress.

Birds of Paradise by Diana Abu Jaber

I appreciate the subjects Abu-Jaber touches on; they usually involve culture, identity and also food and how they’re intrinsically linked in society. Being half Jordanian (father) and American via German/Irish (mother), she often weaves her experience of being multicultural and the by-product of diaspora into her stories. In Birds of Paradise, she writes about Miami’s multiculturalism instead and uses the booming gentrification of the city as a backdrop for the novel. Themes of self-discovery through journey and departure in itself are recurrent. Near the end of the book when Felice, the estranged daughter returns, she writes, “At this point, years after the fact, he realizes that it’s as if Felice’s departure has become an essential piece of her- the price his family had to pay for his sister, for having her at all.” I deeply resonated with this passage. No matter what corner of the world I’m in, my family’s love and support stays with me, even in faraway Miami and even with a new one-year old tot in tow. Visit Diana Abu-Jaber’s official website to read the synopsis or learn more. Below are her previous books that I recommend if you haven’t already had the pleasure of discovering:

Books by Diana Abu-Jaber

Back to baby Q’s first year with us! We enjoyed a decadent week of first birthday celebrations and heart-warming Skypes with family. For Q’s 12 month wellness visit, he was given a healthy report and measured up taller than average. Our jovial Dr.Jake exclaimed, “He’s batting a 1000!” Oh how we love this precious child! As usual, he leaves me speechless and glassy-eyed with pride! And for G’s two cents, I asked him how he would sum up this past year in Miami. “It sucks!” Compared to other great cities we’ve been to, I wholeheartedly agreed, despite all the searching and how hard we’ve tried to adapt culturally. Only a little while longer here… “Ok…”, I replied needing to elaborate. “No, tell me how you’d sum up the past year with baby!” “Oh, he’s awesome!” Yes, he has been… “Oh and his hot mom is too!” Well thanks, you’re awesome too babe…

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4 Responses

Please feel free to comment!

  • Gloria says:

    Spoiler!! LOL

    Skyping was great, we have to keep doing it.

    Your baby is gorgeous and you two are too cute! We missed you, but there will be a chance to meet soon hopefully. You are always more than welcome if you ever get the time and money to visit!

    A big kiss to you, your big man and the little dude! 🙂

  • LD says:

    We’re looking forward to heading out too! There will be plenty of opportunities to get together in the future though. We love you guys but we weren’t going to blow our hard-earned money to meet you in Buffalo of all places! LOL… especially after all this time. We wish you guys took our offer to come down to Miami!

    Thanks so much for putting together all those great posts on L’s blog! The kids are simply beautiful!


  • Gloria says:

    We understand, and we thought about Accepting your generous offer but it would have been too much for Liam. The flight back was not as easy as the flight to Canada, we couldn’t face the idea of two more flights. Hopefully we will see you guys soon. Thanks for the photos!

  • LD says:

    We also understand, it will be our turn next with the arduous task of tackling baby Q and cross-country flights, but it’ll be worth it once we get together!

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