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The Go-Away Bird

The Go-Away Bird [Kindle Edition]

Warren FitzGerald
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
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Product Description


‘FitzGerald writes about Africa vividly, painting interior scenes and green tropical landscapes that jump out of the page. He may do for Rwanda something of what Alexander McCall Smith's lady detective series has done for Botswana…it is a funny, musical, hopeful and poignant story.’ CAPE TIMES

‘It is hard to believe this is Warren FitzGerald's first novel, so sure is his hand and so powerful the book.’ MAIL & GUARDIAN


'FitzGerald writes about Africa vividly, painting interior scenes and green tropical landscapes that jump out of the page. He may do for Rwanda something of what Alexander McCall Smith's lady detective series has done for Botswana!it is a funny, musical, hopeful and poignant story.' CAPE TIMES 'It is hard to believe this is Warren FitzGerald's first novel, so sure is his hand and so powerful the book.' MAIL & GUARDIAN

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 365 KB
  • Print Length: 291 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0007317387
  • Publisher: Blue Door (29 April 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003M5ILWY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #172,846 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Warren FitzGerald was born in 1973. Since graduating from Warwick University he has been a professional singer and worked with children and adults with disabilities. He has undertaken several voluntary projects overseas including building a health centre in Kibungo, Rwanda (the setting for The Go-Away Bird). He lives in London.
His debut novel The Go-Away Bird was first published in 2010. It won an Amazon Rising Stars Award in the same year and in 2011 was longlisted for The Authors' Club Best First Book Award. It was also Waterstones' Book of the Month in October 2011.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1994 - London: Ashley Bolt lives alone in a seedy part of London, deals drugs and cuts himself, he harms himself. Ashley teaches singing.
Rwanda - Clementine Habimama witnesses the genocide, Hutu's are 'cutting' Tutsi's with machetes, harming their country, harming themselves, changing themselves forever. Clementine loves to sing.

I admit that the subject matter does not make it an easy read, genocide and self-harming are both emotive subjects that most peple try to avoid thinking about. How can friends and neighbours suddenly become enemies and kill each other? How can someone frequently slice themselves with a knife? Yes, it is harrowing at times but I was carried along by the narrative and I really did care about the fate of Ashley (in spite of his defects I found him easy to warm to), and Clementine (you would have to be really heartless not to want to give her a hug). It made me think how fortunate I am to have been born in the UK and to have had a happy childhood, free from abuse - and I defy anyone reading this novel not think in this way.

The first half allows the reader into the lives of the dual narrators before they meet. How, for Clementine the beauty and peace of her country is destroyed and turned into a blood bath. Ashley's story describes how and why he self harms, his life London with a small group of friends including Lola, a transvestite singing pupil and Levi a young 'thug'. Clementine's early childhood was filled with love, Ashley's with abuse. The narratives connect, sometimes in subtle ways others more obvious and this is worth looking out for.

Then they meet through the shared love of singing and their lives change forever as their friendship grows.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sorry to disagree - this book was not for me! 27 Nov 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book based on the reviews I read on Amazon. I'm not a fan of fiction but was intrigued by the storyline.

I found the book to be very basically written, lacking in detail and accuracy. I did warm to the character of Clementine and her story of life during the war in Rwanda. However, the character of Ashley and the subsequent meeting up of the two was very unbelieveable and 'far fetched'. I have to say I was also rather uncomfortable that an adult self-harming drug dealer kidnapped a young girl who hardly spoke any english and the author expected me to warm to this idea.

I felt I was expected to fall for some really bad ideas. For example: The local drug dealer has friends in customs at Heathrow, Social Services would allow a vunrable child to go and live with main drug dealer and this was supposed to be a happy ending. Very bizarre!

I have read it, but wished I had spent my time reading facts on self harm and / or conflicts in Rwanda rather than this book which really is poorly written.

Sorry to disagree with 51 other reviews but I definitely would not recommend it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Harrowing, funny and touching 27 May 2010
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This novel takes genocide and self-harm as its main topics - and you can bet that that's not an easy combination for any novelist - but Warren FitzGerald has done a brilliant job of making it come together in a way that is funny and thought-provoking as well as harrowing. This novel isn't the easiest of reading in some ways, as you might guess from the subject matter, but it is engaging and a good read.

The Go-Away Bird is set in 1994 and is narrated by two people - Ashley Bolt, a music teacher living alone and self-harming regularly, and Clementine Habimama, who lives in a flat above and has just come from Rwanda where she witnessed genocide and lost her family. The first half of the novel introduces us to each of the narrators separately. The second half of the novel is about what happens when they meet. The scale of Ashley's problems (living in a semi-squalid flat, his disfunctional family and unhappy childhood memories, and his feeling of failure) pales in comparison to the troubles of the small child he discovers sobbing in the stairwell. Yet, in their odd ways, both learn from the others.

I've seen this novel compared to Mister Pip by Loyd Jones, and I can see how there are some similarities. I found The Go-Away Bird fascinating. I didn't think that all of it was brilliantly written, but it's really unique in how delicately and subtly it deals with such an incredibly difficult and emotive topic like genocide. A tough, special read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable! 1 Jun 2010
The author takes two very difficult and not particularly entertaining subjects and weaves them into a plot that is at times horrifying yet totally readable. Through the strength, believeability and likeability of the characters the reader feels like a confidante rather than a voyeur. Clementine and Ashley both hold your hands and lead you into two very different worlds.
I am very guilty of leaving books half read unless I am on holiday. I read this book in the middle of a very busy time at work and home. I could not put it down after chapter 4 and took it everywhere with me, reading it at any spare moment. I have lent it to two friends who have raved about it and I am about to order two more copies as presents. I totally recommend this book as being thought provoking, interesting but also extremely gripping and easy to read. Congratulations and Thank you to the author. I look forward to Mr. FitzGerald's next book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read, I couldn't put it down only to ...
An excellent read, I couldn't put it down only to grab some tissues a truly sad story of how cruel and kind man can be.
Published 1 month ago by miss K Langley
5.0 out of 5 stars O MMMMMM GGGGG
I got to chapter 4 with a bit of a struggle (a bit graphic and gory) forced myself to continue and so glad I really got into all the characters and enjoyed their journey's to the... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Joycee
2.0 out of 5 stars Emotive subject matter let down by structural and stylistic problems
This should be a great tearjerking story. It's hard to write vividly about the appalling events of the 1994 Rwandan genocide without evoking strong emotions. Read more
Published 15 months ago by BookWorm
2.0 out of 5 stars Must do better
This book is quite simply not believable in any way and although Clementine and her family could have been the substance to a very real and heartfelt story, the author chose his... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Glenn B
4.0 out of 5 stars Rwanda for beginners
The 4* is for the simple but effective way the author covers the atrocities in Rwanda, which many people will have seen on the news but not really understood. Read more
Published 20 months ago by avaline
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping
An excellent book. It's not a difficult read in a literary sense but it is certainly uncomfortable and even shocking in its subject matter. Still, I found it compelling. Read more
Published on 29 Oct 2011 by Mrs B
4.0 out of 5 stars A book of two parts
This book is set in 1994 at the time of the Rwandan Genocide. The story alternates between two disfunctional societies, Rwanda where the Hutus are murdering the Tutsis; and a... Read more
Published on 1 Jun 2011 by Noel
4.0 out of 5 stars Stay with it, and you'll be richly rewarded
Imagine a Y on its side, open end on the left. Or a South African flag. That's the outline of The Go Away Bird, a novel by Warren Fitzgerald. Read more
Published on 3 April 2011 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars An astounding debut - can't wait for the next Warren FitzGerald novel.
The great thing about the internet is that you can research almost anything. A third of the way through THE GO-AWAY BIRD I wanted - no needed - to find out more about the subject... Read more
Published on 3 Aug 2010 by Steven Jones
4.0 out of 5 stars Very nearly 5 stars
After an 'iffy' start I really got into this book and couldn't put it down. I even got to like the character of Ashley who was far from endearing in the early chapters. Read more
Published on 30 July 2010 by DubaiReader
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