Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Tiny Sunbirds Far Away

Title: Tiny Sunbirds Far Away

Author: Christie Watson

Number of pages: 352

Started: 12 December 2011

Finished: 28 December 2011

Opening words:

Father was a loud man. His voice entered a room before he did. From my bedroom window I could hear him sitting in the wide gardens, or walking to the car parking area filled with Mercedes, or standing by the security guard's office, or the gate in front.

Plot summary:

Blessing and her brother Ezikiel adore their larger-than-life father, their glamorous mother and their comfortable life in Lagos. But all that changes when their father leaves them for another woman. Their mother is fired from her job at the Royal Imperial Hotel – only married women can work there – and soon they have to quit their air-conditioned apartment to go and live with their grandparents in a compound in the Niger Delta. Adapting to life with a poor countryside family is a shock beyond measure.

What I thought:

This was the last of the Costa books on this year’s list. It took me a while to warm to this book, but once I really got into it (helped by reading the majority of it on a very long train journey) I really enjoyed it.

It was well written and I thought it was good at conjuring up emotions. I really felt the unfairness of the situation that they were in when they fell into a life they had not expected. It was a rather sexist and corrupt society, and one that was in some ways beyond redemption.

A decent and readable book, and definitely one of the better ones on the shortlist, although not as good as A Summer of Drowning.

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