Third Place Books welcomes debut Portland writer Emme Lund for a presentation of her new novel, The Boy With a Bird in His Chest, which Alex McElroy calls "the queer coming of age novel I wish I’d had when I was a teenager." Lund will be joined in conversation by Seattle-based culture writer and reporter Sarah Neilson.
This event will be broadcast live on Zoom. Registering will provide you with a unique access link in an email. During the event, you can ask questions using the Q&A feature, or chat with fellow attendees. A recording of the event will be made available and emailed to all who register.
This author talk is free! You can sustain our author series by purchasing a copy of the featured book.
“A modern coming-of-age full of love, desperation, heartache, and magic” (Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize–winning author) about “the ways in which family, grief, love, queerness, and vulnerability all intersect” (Kristen Arnett, New York Times bestselling author). Perfect for fans of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Thirty Names of Night.
Though Owen Tanner has never met anyone else who has a chatty bird in their chest, medical forums would call him a Terror. From the moment Gail emerged between Owen’s ribs, his mother knew that she had to hide him away from the world. After a decade spent in hiding, Owen takes a brazen trip outdoors in the middle of a forest fire, and his life is upended forever.
Suddenly, Owen is forced to flee the home that had once felt so confining and hide in plain sight with his uncle and cousin in Washington. There, he feels the joy of finding a family among friends; of sharing the bird in his chest and being embraced fully; of falling in love and feeling the devastating heartbreak of rejection before finding a spark of happiness in the most unexpected place; of living his truth regardless of how hard the thieves of joy may try to tear him down. But the threat of the Army of Acronyms is a constant, looming presence, making Owen wonder if he’ll ever find a way out of the cycle of fear.
A heartbreaking yet hopeful novel about the things that make us unique and lovable, The Boy with a Bird in His Chest grapples with the fear, depression, and feelings of isolation that come with believing that we will never be loved, let alone accepted, for who we truly are, and learning to live fully and openly regardless.
“Lund has created a fable for our age: a modern coming of age full of love, desperation, heartache and magic. An honest celebration of life and everything we need right now in a book.”
—Andrew Sean Greer, author of Less
“Emme Lund’s The Boy with a Bird in His Chest is a beautiful, tender book. I was deeply moved by this story; very caught up in the ways in which family, grief, love, queerness, and vulnerability all intersect. Lund’s sentences are sweet and stick to your ribs. I found myself falling in love with these characters—these messy, deeply realized, fully lovable, and wonderfully human people. The Boy with a Bird in His Chest is a terrific first novel and Emme Lund is a profoundly gifted writer.”
—Kristen Arnett, author of With Teeth
“Emme Lund’s The Boy with a Bird in His Chest is the queer coming of age novel I wish I’d had when I was a teenager. Funny and gutting, tender and scorchingly honest, surreal and a little too real, this novel captures the pain and joy of learning to live with your body and all its desires. The Boy with a Bird in His Chest reads like The Perks of Being a Wallflowers written by Kelly Link. Lund’s vision is striking, resonant, and unforgettable.”
—Alex McElroy, author of The Atmospherians
Emme Lund is an author living and writing in Portland, Oregon. She has an MFA from Mills College. Her work has appeared in Electric Literature, Time, The Rumpus, Paper Darts, and many more. In 2019, she was awarded an Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship in Fiction. The Boy with a Bird in His Chest is her first novel. Visit EmmeLund.net for more information.
Sarah Neilson is a Seattle-based freelance writer whose work appears in The Seattle Times, Shondaland, The Believer, LitHub, Catapult, and them.us among others. She can be found on Twitter @sarahmariewrote.
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