Afterlife of Birds, The

By (author): Elizabeth Philips

A gorgeous, deeply felt debut novel about obsession, loneliness, and the surprising ways we find to connect with each other.

Henry Jett’s life is slowly going nowhere. His girlfriend recently left, and his job in a local garage is uninspiring, considering that he doesn’t particularly like cars. Henry finds solace in his eccentric passion, rebuilding the skeletons of birds and animals. Meanwhile Henry’s brother, Dan, is disappearing into an obsession of his own.

Without Dan to rely on, Henry begins to engage in new ways with the people around him in his Prairie city: the 80-year-old Russian émigré who delights in telling stories; the very pregnant former employee of his mother’s; the lawyer who may or may not be his brother’s ex-girlfriend. Gradually they demand that Henry become a participant in his own story, and Henry must forge his own way of living in the world.

In The Afterlife of Birds, award-winning poet Elizabeth Philips draws together unforgettable characters who subtly, powerfully demonstrate the beauty of ordinary lives and finding our place in the world.


Elizabeth Philips

Elizabeth Philips is the author of three previous collections of poetry, most recently A Blue with Blood in it and Beyond my Keeping. Both collections received the Saskatchewan Poetry Award for their respective years. She has edited numerous poetry collections and has taught creative writing in the Banff Wired Studio, the Banff Writing with Style program, and the Sage Hill Writing Experience. She edited the literary magazine Grain from 1998 to 2003. She lives in Saskatoon.


“Philips’ novel is a gift, her prose flawless, her characters endlessly engaging; the book itself offering us a new voice in fiction, one we should listen to with all our hearts.” ? Patrick Lane, author of Red Dog, Red Dog

“Liz Philips has accomplished the most difficult thing in literature. She has written an original love story.” ? Fred Stenson, author of Who By Fire

“Like its central character Henry Jett, The Afterlife of Birds is an original: alert to nature, clear-eyed and true. A lovely novel?it returned me to the world refreshed.” ? Joan Thomas, author ofThe Opening Sky

“The people around us are weird and [The Afterlife of Birds] celebrates the glory of that? the glory and complexity of people.” ? Angie Abdou, on CBC Radio’s Daybreak Alberta


  • Saskatoon Book Award 2016, Winner
  • First Novel Award 2016, Short-listed
  • Saskatchewan Fiction Award 2016, Short-listed
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    320 Pages
    8.50in * 5.50in * .80in


    September 15, 2015


    Freehand Books



    Book Subjects:

    FICTION / Literary

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