From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train and The Exiles comes a novel about the choices we make, how they shape our lives, and how they can change them forever.
Four people, two marriages, one lifelong friendship: Everything is about to change.
It was dark. It was raining. It was just an accident. On the drive home from a rare evening out, Alison collides with another car running a stop sign, and—just like that—her life turns upside down.
When she calls her husband, Charlie, from the police station, his accusatory tone reveals cracks in their relationship she’d never noticed were there. Now she notices everything. And she begins to realize that the life she carefully constructed for herself is as tenuous as a house of cards.
The only thing Charlie can focus on these days is his secret, sudden affair with Claire, Alison’s best friend. Bold where Alison is reserved, vibrant where Alison is cautious, Claire has just had her first novel published, a thinly veiled retelling of her childhood in North Carolina. But even in the whirlwind of publication, Claire can’t stop wondering if she should leave her husband, Ben, an ambitious architect who is brilliant, kind, and meticulous. And who wants nothing more than a baby, or two—exactly the kind of life that Charlie and Alison seem to have.
As they set out on their individual journeys, Alison, Charlie, Claire, and Ben explore the idea—each in his or her own way—that every moment of loss contains within it the possibility of a new life. Alternating through these four intertwined perspectives, Bird in Hand is an exquisitely written, powerful, and thrilling novel about love, friendship and betrayal, and about the secrets we tell ourselves and each other.
In her fourth novel (after The Way Life Should Be), Kline traces the construction and collapse of two long-term relationships. On her way home to New Jersey after an awkward party for her lifelong friend Claire's highly autobiographical first novel, Alison gets into a car accident that kills a boy in the other car. Even though the accident wasn't her fault, Allison, a mother of two young children, is wracked with grief and guilt. Her husband, Charlie, also struggles with the impulse to blame his wife, especially as he longs for any excuse to escalate his nascent affair with Claire and end his marriage. Episodes detailing the inevitable collapse of Alison and Charlie's marriage, as well as Claire's marriage to her well-meaning husband, Ben, are interspersed with vignettes revealing the four friends' 10-plus year history together. Shifting perspectives and thoughtful interior monologues reveal just how isolated, and in some cases misguided, the characters are. Kline's unflinching gaze and lovely prose sets Kline's novel apart from the herd of infidelity/marital ennui novels. It's well-done, thoughtful and thought provoking.