A Catalog of Birds

“From the first page, I was captivated by Nell, the young heroine of Laura Harrington’s A Catalog of Birds, a dazzling page-turner of a novel. Brave and earnest, Nell falls in love with her brother’s best friend, as they try to save her troubled brother, freshly returned from Vietnam. Gorgeously moving and compulsively readable, Harrington’s prose is so vivid you can smell the hay in the fields. A penetrating and poignant story that reveals the impact of Vietnam on those who fought and those who stayed behind, A Catalog of Birds will linger in your mind long after the last page has turned.”
Charlotte Gordon, author of Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley, winner of the National Book Critics Award for Biography

“You know the Flynns. They’re that family down the street—or perhaps your own family— imperfect, loving, loyal, angry, secretive, stubborn, barely making ends meet, church-going but not always believing, each carrying burdens they can never quite put down. At once spare and richly symphonic, A Catalog of Birds brings you into the very marrow of the Flynns and those in their orbit, each page wrapping you in more tightly until you can’t let go even after the words stop. Get a copy for a friend—you’ll want to have someone to talk to about it as soon as you finish.”
Juliette Fay, best-selling author of The Tumbling Turner Sisters

“In Laura Harrington’s brilliant novel, A Catalog of Birds, the son of a boisterous Irish Catholic family in upstate NY goes to Vietnam. Every war is different but every war is the same, and each generation learns its terrible lessons again. Harrington takes us into the heart of a wounded rural community as it struggles to survive and hope. An unflinching look at our own vulnerability and that of the natural world, Harrington’s writing is feather, bone and song. A Catalog of Birds soars, blazing with love.”
Lynne Hugo, award-winning author of Remember My Beauties


Laura Harrington’s latest novel is a portrait of a family in crisis, the mysterious disappearance of a young girl, and of a brother and sister whose love of the natural world just might save their lives.

Set in 1970, a watershed moment in American history, A Catalog of Birds tells the story of the Flynn family and the devastating impact of the Vietnam War. At the heart of the novel is the relationship between siblings Nell and Billy Flynn. Nell excels academically and is headed to college and a career in science. Billy, a passionate bird artist, enlists as a pilot to fulfill his lifelong dream of flying. The only survivor when his helicopter is shot down, he returns home so seriously wounded he may never use his right hand again. As Billy struggles to regain the life he once had, Nell and their family will have to do all that’s possible to save him.