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Tail of the Blue Bird Paperback – 3 Jun 2010
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"A delightful book that combines the basic tug of the whodunit with the more elegant pleasures of the literary novel" (Independent)
"A lyrically beautiful tale" (Arise)
"A deeply complex novel; each character, every line entices the reader into feeling the beating heart of urban and rural Ghanaian lives... Parkes' steady, assured writing weaves a cosmological mystery that keeps you guessing to the very last page" (Courttia Newland)
"A brilliant new voice" (Time Out)
"A magical and engaging read" (Margaret Busby)
An African whodunit that alludes to the troublesome relationship that lies between the modernity and custom ... Parkes has managed to write fabulously poetic and fresh prose that is both vernacular and contemporary.
Deftly executed --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
The second chapter introduces us to Kwadwo Okai [Kayo] Odamtten, an Imperial College-trained forensic pathologist, who has returned to Ghana in the hope that he could work as part of the national police force. Unfortunately the police do not want him, partly because their use of specialised ‘interrogation’ delivers the outcomes they want and partly because he was unwilling to offer a bribe to support his application. We find him working for the odious Mr Acquah’s company, Acquabio, analysing ‘sample after sample of agricultural chemicals, food ingredients and flavourings, human and animal fluids, new products for importers wanting to prove that they were meeting the standards of the Ghana Standards Board for whatever they were selling’.
Kayo is contacted by the police want him to carry out a forensic investigation in Sonokrom, but his boss will not allow him time off. As Police Inspector PJ Donker has already promised the Minister an investigation, and the right conclusion, pressure is put on Kayo to carry out the investigation.Read more ›
Most of the action takes place in a remote village two and a half hours drive from Accra, the capital. The young forensic expert, Kayo, has been dispatched to the village with his police sidelick, Garba, to investigate the foul smelling remains of what appears to be of human nature. The solving of the case has political ramification for him and the police inspector in Accra. Time is of the essence... but evidence cannot be obtained or verified without the cooperation of village elders... and their world operates on different parameters than city people would assume.
Nii Ayikwei Parkes pulls the reader very quickly into this different world; his characters, Kayo and Garba, and the central figures in the village are very well drawn; their personalities are endearing and affecting and at times surprising in their own ways. The author's depiction of the northern Ghana landscape is evocative... and you can easily imagine the presence and the power of the ancestors' spirits. Just one caution, the language, especially the dialogs take a bit of getting used to for most of us. My recommendation: just relax into it and the fast paced story; it will become easy after a while. While terms are not directly explained, the author finds an organic way to let you know what they mean in due course.
Most recent customer reviews
Finished and read it all after meeting Nii Parkes at the University I attend. Excellent book and well written. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Annalise
I bought this book based on the excellent reviews here on Amazon and I am thoroughly disappointed. First of all, the book is replete with Ghanian words and at times even the... Read morePublished on 10 Nov. 2009 by Miran Ali
Nii Ayikwei Parkes's Tail of the Blue Bird has lengths of conversation in the pidgin of Ghana with little more than context to help the reader to decipher it. Read morePublished on 20 Aug. 2009 by Feanor