What We’re Reading: The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez

the vanished birds by simon jimenez
Available at the Orange County Campus (PS 3610 .I54 V36 2020)

Title: The Vanished Birds
Author: Simon Jimenez
Genre: science fiction; fantasy; dystopia; literary fiction
Read Great Things 2021 Categories: A book about or set in space; A book about family; A book that takes place outside the continental United States; and A book suggested by a Durham Tech Librarian

My own category: A book about travel, longing, and trying to find beauty in something that’s broken

This book was read by Meredith Lewis, the [mostly] Orange County Campus Librarian. 

Earth has been ruined, so space habitation and travel to various colonies is the norm. The only problem is that it takes so long, so those who have to make the journey find themselves literally out-of-time with anyone they leave behind. A genius scientist, a lonely spaceship captain, and a boy who falls from the sky all converge in a story about ethics of technological development, love, and family. I also need to tell you that I found the writing particularly beautiful. 

Why did you choose to read this? 

I actually won a copy! I enter a lot of book drawings (because why not) and the cover [yes, for real] was interesting enough for me to read the summary, which was also interesting, so I entered. 

What did you like about it?

Well, the writing was just really beautiful. The author did a great job of describing the impact that a life literally adrift (albeit with a destination in mind) can have without being too adjective-indulgent about it.

The characters are also really wonderful. There are several main characters and they’re all interesting, well-developed, but not perfect. I love a character-driven story, and this definitely fit the bill.

What feeling did it leave you with? 

The end of the book is both sad and very satisfying. I guess if a book isn’t going to have a happy, neatly-wrapped ending, I’ll go for a combination of [insert emotion here] AND satisfying. 

What would you pair this book with?

A bonfire celebration with friends… after we’re all vaccinated and can hang out together again. And maybe a trip to an aviary or the Smithsonian Museum of Air and Space. (Same circumstances, though.)

For another book set in space, check out Librarian Courtney Bippley’s What We’re Reading review of Becky Chambers’ Record of a Spaceborn Few. Also, have we told you about Murderbot

Want to read this? Put a hold on it through your Durham Tech Library account or email us and let us know. We can arrange pick up at either the Main or Orange County Campus. 

Have a book you’d like to recommend through a What We’re Reading post? We have a form for that

About Meredith Lewis

Meredith is a librarian at Durham Tech on both the Main and Orange County Campuses.