Kim Duncan. “Byrd.” Dzanc Books, 2014.

I loved this debut novel written by North Carolina poet Kim Church.

The main character, Addie, falls for Roland, the new guy in a small North Carolina high school in the 1970s. He’s a musician who eventually moves to California while she stays close to home and works in a bookstore.

She looks him up in California when both are in their 30s. He is floundering, but nevertheless, she has a short-term affair with him. When she returns to N.C., she learns that she’s pregnant.

She tells Roland and decides on an abortion. The abortion fails, so she has the baby and gives the boy up for adoption. She calls her child Byrd. She never tells Roland until much later.

Her decision affects her for the rest of her life. Much of the rest of the story is told in her undelivered letters to Byrd.

I picked up this book because I had read many good reviews. I liked the author’s spare prose with no wasted words, the way a poet would write.