From the publisher:
1940. Tokyo. Japan is at war with China, and Yuji Takano is clinging to the life he has made for himself as a young poet - the company of his friends, the monthly meetings of the French Club at Monsieur Feneon's house, the days of writing and contemplation made possible by an allowance from his father, a professor of Law at Tokyo's elite Imperial university...But the world is closing in on Yuji. His father is disgraced, the allowance is scrapped, and the threat of conscription is coming ever closer. And then there is Monsieur Feneon's nineteen-year-old daughter Alissa, a girl with her own very definite ideas of what she wants, and whose fate becomes inextricably bound up with Yuji's. One Morning Like A Bird unfolds a tale of growing up and growing free of the self-delusions that make doing the right thing so difficult - especially in a world where everyone is struggling to save themselves. It is also the story of Tokyo: a vast and almost impossible place, its history plagued by fires and earthquakes, and in 1941, a city that teeters on the brink of its greatest catastrophe.
From a Waterstone's reviewer:
Andrew Miller evokes meticulously a specific time and place; Tokyo in 1940. His hero is a young poet, Yuji, living at his family home in reduced circumstances. Yuji’s father, a law professor, has been unfairly disgraced because of something he wrote fifteen years earlier. World War II is gathering momentum; the newspaper has pictures of storm troopers on the Champs-Elysees. Yuji’s world is changing and privileges formerly taken for granted are gradually being eroded. Yuji’s family and friends, his lover, his values, his way of life, are described with sympathy.
This is, perhaps, a small masterpiece.