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on 4 October 2017
One thing that struck me about the main characters, Angela and Edward was how lonely they each were in their own worlds with no apparent circle of acquaintances or friends, and definitely no such thing as a personal confidente to share their thoughts and ideas with. Edward is turned in on himself to the extent that he sounds as if half alive, his only social outlet being his meals out with his mother. Of course he has a job in a library, a dull job for a man who sounds intelligent. It is hardly surprising that he becomes attached to Angela once he gets over the shock that she wants to employ him as an artist's model. The mutual nudity leads to the inevitable. He falls in love. The story stops here in one sense. He leaves his lodgings and moves on to a place of his own which he could surely have managed earlier. His frail mother passes away and he and Angela sort out her effects. His friendship with Angela is now on an even and equal plane except that she is not so blinded by either love or infatuation that she will ever fall in love with him, twenty-two to his forty-nine. I think she found his deformity interesting to draw despite a moment when she found it "repulsive". They have moved past this by the end of the book. What comes next is left to the imagination. I don't think that the book needed a different kind of ending although it finished a bit like a short story is allowed to finish on a snippet from life. The characters were all sympathetic in their ways. Edward's mother, Rachel, had enough "Get up and go" to have a life, unlike her son The complication of the randy uncle and Angela in a sexual relationship, which does not go unnoticed by Edward when he was a boy, has blighted his life to some extent as it has affected his feelings for her. His late awakening, thanks to his artist friend, makes it easy at last to forgive her. Something had closure but we can only speculate on what happens next to The artist and Edward, separately or together. I enjoyed this book. It kept me engaged all the way through and despite what I say about the ending, I did feel sorry when it finished.
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on 2 May 2009
This is one of the most sensitive and well-discoursed novels I have picked up in a age. After the first few short chapters the characters became unfeasably real, living in the imagination from the time the page closed until the next time it was opened. I found myself sharing in a world of sensitivity, honesty, and emotions struggling for expression, so beautifully crafted by this author.
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on 20 March 2013
This story of a disabled man who models for a young woman artist is so sensitively written. The reason for three stars (and I was tempted with four) is that I felt the rest of the characters and their relationships were lacking depth. However, the China Bird is worth reading purely for the brilliant and beautiful way the author describes the relationship between Angela and Edward.
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on 30 July 2013
A gentle read. I found myself wondering what it was all about at first, loved the story and then found the end a little lacking. In what I don't know but it's a three out of five stars from me.
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on 11 November 2013
This Novel really does draw you in. The story has some dark topics and these are handled really well by Ms Doran. Overall I found it to be very optimistic and, being a disabled person, shows that we should open ourselves to new experience. I enjoyed the Book - then I dowloaded the book from Amazon for Kindle and there are a few typing errors. Having already read the paperback, I know that these are not the authors problem.
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on 11 December 2012
It is a pleasure to read this exquisitely written book. The plot is unusual and interesting, the narrative spare and driven, and the images created by this combination are lingering.

It has been a while since I read a book of such depth and quality and I highly recommend it.
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on 21 December 2012
Carefully crafted ,Bryony explores to great effect relationships, love, pain , fear, loneliness, compassion, trust, anger, vengeance, sadness and joy.
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on 31 May 2009
The China Bird is an absolute page turner. The characters are so realistic you feel like you are really there with them. Set in the city of Sheffield it was great to read a book not set in Notting Hill. I did not want this book to end and when I did I cried. It's not often a book moves me to tears but this amazing tale did just that. I can't wait for the next book from Bryony Doran a gifted and unique storyteller.
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on 12 April 2017
not sure where to start as this is a personal read unlike anything else i have come across. if you dont bring something of yourself to these characters you might find them unrealistic.
as the owner of a "deformed spine" and an ex-student of sheffield, i found these people deeply annoying. that has become the entertainment. how can they annoy me next i wonder ? because, of course, i'm much cleverer than them.
Sheffield benefits from its students, but how students benefit from Sheffielders is not discussed as much in real life.
Glad i got to the end. good read
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on 8 November 2009
I really got drawn into this novel. It's about the relationship between a man with a deformed spine, who has lived a quiet and rather repressed life, with a talented female art student who asks him to model for her. As their relationship grows, it becomes more complicated. I recommend this book highly. Its characters are sensitively drawn, and the book handles potentially dark topics with a deft touch.
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