The Bird Market of Paris

A Memoir

Nikki Moustaki

Henry Holt and Co.

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An avian expert and poet shares a true story of beloved birds, a remarkable grandfather, a bad-girl youth—and an astonishing redemption

Nikki Moustaki, author of The Bird Market of Paris, grew up in 1980s Miami, the only child of parents who worked, played, and traveled for luxury sports car dealerships. At home, her doting grandmother cooked for and fed her, but it was her grandfather—an evening-gown designer, riveting storyteller, and bird expert—who was her mentor and dearest companion.

Like her grandfather, Nikki fell hard for birds. "Birds filled my childhood," she writes, "as blue filled the sky." Her grandfather showed her how to hypnotize chickens, sneak up on pigeons, and handle baby birds. He gave her a white dove to release for luck on each birthday. And he urged her to, someday, visit the bird market of Paris.

But by the time Nikki graduated from college and moved to New York City, she was succumbing to alcohol and increasingly unable to care for her flock. When her grandfather died, guilt-ridden Nikki drank even more. In a last-ditch effort to honor her grandfather, she flew to France hoping to visit the bird market of Paris to release a white dove. Instead, something astonishing happened there that saved Nikki’s life.

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Reviews

Praise for The Bird Market of Paris

“I've long been a devotee of Nikki Moustaki's poetry. Now, her keen eye, deft language, and startling voice shine just as brilliantly in her memoir, The Bird Market of Paris, a work of remarkable honesty, proving the power and exuberance of her prose. The wisdom of an exceptional grandfather, a passion for birds, and the darkness of addiction—all spun together by Moustaki's gift for finding just the right words, at the right time—give life to this epiphany-provoking gem of a story, skillfully crafted, vivid and rich with feeling.” —Richard Blanco, Presidential Inaugural Poet and author of The Prince of los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood

“Nikki Moustaki's The Bird Market of Paris is a terrific book, a beautiful memoir of a child's love of birds, instilled in her by a loving grandfather. The love he gave her helps to save her from the oblivion of alcohol.” —Dan Wakefield, author of the memoirs Returning: A Spiritual Journey and New York in the Fifties

“Through breathtaking, lyrical prose, Nikki Moustaki bares herself on the page, and renders her coming of age and its uncontainable desires through the surprising metaphor of birds. This debut narrative is a stunning, inspiring, honest, break-your-heart recovery memoir with wings, a triumphant story of the brick-by-brick building of sobriety and of family love.” —Christa Parravani, author of Her: A Memoir


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About the Author

Nikki Moustaki

Nikki Moustaki is the author of 25 books on exotic birds and a writer for Bird Talk, Birds USA, and the blogs Good Bird and Pepper: An American Dog in Paris. She is host of the websites Nikki Knows Pets and The Pet Postcard Project (which raises money for animal shelters). She has an MA in creative writing and an MFA in fiction from NYU as well as an MFA in creative writing from Indiana University. She received an NEA poetry grant and many national writing awards. She lives in New York City.

Nikki Moustaki

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Available Formats and Book Details

The Bird Market of Paris
A Memoir
Nikki Moustaki

Hardcover

Hardcover
Henry Holt and Co.
2/10/2015
Hardcover
ISBN: 9780805096514
ISBN10: 0805096515
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 256 pages
$26.00
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Henry Holt and Co.

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