People and events in Paint the Bird spring before us, like birds spooked into flight. Sarah Obadias, a veteran preacher in an “inclusive, nurturing” church, finds herself in the company of a compelling stranger and gives in to his sensual attractions. She also falls into his life, trapped almost, and his life is rather wretched at the moment. Tall, well aged, with a generous mane of white hair, this man is named Abraham, which is appropriate for this Sarah, and for this book, which purposely echoes Bible narratives. Abraham’s son (named Yago, not Isaac) has died and the events of the novel revolve around the effects of this untimely demise.
The language in this book is vivid and urgent, as are
Fall Asleep Forgetting, as Ms. Packard continues to make good on her considerable promise.