Birds of a Lesser Paradise is a book of short stories that is as heartwarming as it is heartbreaking. In my favorite story of the bunch “Housewifely Arts” a woman drives for hours with her small son to a zoo to see a parrot her mother once owned. Her mother is dead and the bird can mimic her voice. I get that, the pull to relive the past or a moment to the point of irrationality. All of these stories include animals and nature. They obviate our connections to both in surprising ways. They are smart and tough, but also compassionate. I look forward to more from this first-time author.