The Hummingbird

The Hummingbird : A Novel

4.09 (2,593 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Deborah Birch is a seasoned hospice nurse whose daily work requires courage and compassion. But her skills and experience are tested in new and dramatic ways when her easygoing husband, Michael, returns from his third deployment to Iraq haunted by nightmares, anxiety, and rage. She is determined to help him heal, and to restore the tender, loving marriage they once had.

At the same time, Deborahs primary patient is Barclay Reed, a retired history professor and expert in the Pacific Theater of World War II whose career ended in academic scandal. Alone in the world, the embittered professor is dying. As Barclay begrudgingly comes to trust Deborah, he tells her stories from that long-ago war, which help her find a way to help her husband battle his demons.

Told with piercing empathy and heartbreaking realism, The Hummingbird is a masterful story of loving commitment, service to country, and absolution through wisdom and forgiveness.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 162 x 236 x 27mm | 470g
  • HarperCollins
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0062369547
  • 9780062369543

Back cover copy

Deborah Birch is a seasoned hospice nurse who never gives up--not with her patients, not in her life. But her skills and experience are fully tested by the condition her husband, Michael, is in when he returns from his third deployment to Iraq. Tormented by nightmares, anxiety, and rage, Michael has become cold and withdrawn. Still grateful that he is home at last, Deborah is determined to heal him and restore their loving, passionate marriage.

But Michael is not her only challenge. Deborah's primary patient is Barclay Reed, a retired history professor and fierce curmudgeon. An expert on the Pacific Theater of World War II, Barclay is suffering from terminal kidney cancer and haunted by ghosts from his past, including the academic scandal that ended his career.

Barclay's last wish is for Deborah to read to him from his final and unfinished book--a little-known story from World War II that may hold the key to helping Michael conquer his demons. Together, nurse, patient, and soldier embark on an unforgettable emotional journey that transforms them all, offering astonishing insights into life and death, suffering and finding peace.

Told with piercing empathy and heartbreaking realism, The Hummingbird is a masterful story of marital commitment, service to country, the battles we fight for those we love, learning to let go, and finding absolution through wisdom and acceptance.
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Review quote

"This many-faceted, thought-provoking story prompts soul-searching about life, war, and death." -- Booklist

"Remarkably touching, insightful and timely... bridges several powerful stories of life and death that explore the cost of courage and the true meaning of heroism... Illuminating, uplifting and ultimately redemptive." -- RT Book Reviews, 4.5 stars

"The Hummingbird is a novel that shares its unexpected gifts and teaches us that surrender is a part of love, and that giving away our weapons is the first step to peace." -- Mary Morris, author of The Jazz Palace

"Evocative and insightful . . . a wise and transformative novel that is psychologically astute and written in beautifully paced, expressive, and understated prose that is all the more poignant for its simplicity." -- San Francisco Review of Books

"Stephen Kiernan writes with surefooted mastery and patience. ...What thrilled me about The Hummingbird is that I learned again that sometimes an unbridgeable chasm can be crossed by a leap of the imagination." -- Peter Heller, author of The Painter and The Dog Stars

Praise for The Curiosity: "[THE CURIOSITY] poses provocative questions about life and humanity." -- Entertainment Weekly on THE CURIOSITY

""[A]mbitious . . . an emotionally satisfying and brisk narrative . . . [T]his is a gripping novel with a clever conceit." -- Publishers Weekly on THE CURIOSITY

"I absolutely loved THE CURIOSITY. It's as thought-provoking and powerful as FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON and the writing is breathtakingly beautiful. And that ending? Poignant, luminescent, and absolutely perfect." -- Chris Bohjalian, bestselling author of The Light in the Ruins and Midwives

"If you want your beach read to deliver some goose bumps, snag Stephen P. Kiernan's The Curiosity. In this romantic thriller, a man who's been buried in Arctic ice for over a century is reanimated, with shocking results." -- Good Housekeeping

"One of the year's great delights. . . . [A] beautifully made first work of fiction." -- Alan Cheuse, NPR

"Stephen P. Kiernan's novel is a marvelous blend of sci-fi, romance, and the tug-of-war between science and ethics." -- Parade on THE CURIOSITY

"Summer is dominated with thrilling books, but if you prefer yours more measured, more touching and decidedly more thought-provoking, this one may satisfy your curiosity." -- Minneapolis Star Tribune on THE CURIOSITY

"Stephen P. Kiernan's The Curiosity is a true page-turner, mixing cutting edge science with an all-too-human love story, while simultaneously taking on the Big Questions. It's one of the most assured debuts in years, a book that will stop your heart and start it again." -- Justin Cronin, bestselling author of The Passage

"[A] smart, heady, and irresistable science thriller....Kiernan gets every element right in teh breakneck, entertaining and thought-provoking taleabout time, mortality, the ethics of science, and the meaning of life." -- Booklist (starred review) on THE CURIOSITY
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About Stephen P Kiernan

Stephen P. Kiernan is a graduate of John Hopkins University and the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. Over his twenty years plus as a journalist he has won numerous awards, including the Brechner Center's Freedom of Information Award, the Scripps Howard Award for Distinguished Service to the First Amendment, and the George Polk Award. He is the author of The Curiosity, his first novel. He lives in Vermont with his two sons.
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Rating details

2,593 ratings
4.09 out of 5 stars
5 36% (921)
4 44% (1,136)
3 16% (419)
2 4% (94)
1 1% (23)
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