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Tiny Sunbirds Far Away by [Watson, Christie]
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Tiny Sunbirds Far Away Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 229 customer reviews

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Length: 433 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

'A fascinating, poignant story that had me laughing in places and deeply moved in others' Ike Anya. (Ike Anya)

'An excellent novel. It takes the reader deep into the reality of ordinary life in Nigeria and is also funny, moving and politically alert' Giles Foden, author of The Last King of Scotland. (Giles Foden)

'The gripping, triumphant tale of a girl who chooses life over loss, in a sweet but savage world where oil is bled from the earth' Lola Shoneyin, author of The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives. (Lola Shoneyin)

'A must-read. Lyrical and beautifully drawn, a poignant coming of age tale, set in an Africa few readers will have experienced' Lesley Lokko. (Lesley Lokko)

'So good I had to lie down after reading it' Trezza Azzopardi. (Trezza Azzopardi)

'Through the lens of a young girl's coming of age, this breakthrough novel views the politics of contemporary Nigeria, portraying the clash between traditional and modern as it affects one extended family... Watson tells her story of culture clash without heavy messages, but the issues are sure to spark intense discussion, especially about the damage done to the environment and to the people by the powerful international oil industry in league with the corrupt government' Booklist. (Booklist)

'An immensely absorbing novel. It is both heart-wrenching and consoling' Chika Unigwe, author of On Black Sisters' Street. (Chika Unigwe)

'Christie Watson's debut novel, set in the troubled Niger Delta, does what fiction does best, it captures place and characters so well that you feel you are there. It is sincere, it is powerfully written, and it deserves to be read' Helon Habila, author of Oil on Water. (Helon Habila)

'Watson's nuanced portrayal of daily life in Nigeria is peopled with flawed but tenacious characters who fight not only for survival but for dignity. Blessing is a wonderful narrator whose vivid impressions enliven Watson's sensual prose' Publishers Weekly. (Publishers Weekly)

Review

'A must-read. Lyrical and beautifully drawn, a poignant coming of age tale, set in an Africa few readers will have experienced' Lesley Lokko. 'So good I had to lie down after reading it' Trezza Azzopardi. 'An excellent novel. It takes the reader deep into the reality of ordinary life in Nigeria and is also funny, moving and politically alert' Giles Foden, author of The Last King of Scotland. 'Christie Watson's debut novel, set in the troubled Niger Delta, does what fiction does best, it captures place and characters so well that you feel you are there. It is sincere, it is powerfully written, and it deserves to be read' Helon Habila, author of Oil on Water. 'The gripping, triumphant tale of a girl who chooses life over loss, in a sweet but savage world where oil is bled from the earth' Lola Shoneyin, author of The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives. 'An immensely absorbing novel. It is both heart-wrenching and consoling' Chika Unigwe, author of On Black Sisters' Street. 'A fascinating, poignant story that had me laughing in places and deeply moved in others' Ike Anya. 'Watson's nuanced portrayal of daily life in Nigeria is peopled with flawed but tenacious characters who fight not only for survival but for dignity. Blessing is a wonderful narrator whose vivid impressions enliven Watson's sensual prose' Publishers Weekly. 'Through the lens of a young girl's coming of age, this breakthrough novel views the politics of contemporary Nigeria, portraying the clash between traditional and modern as it affects one extended family... Watson tells her story of culture clash without heavy messages, but the issues are sure to spark intense discussion, especially about the damage done to the environment and to the people by the powerful international oil industry in league with the corrupt government' Booklist.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 927 KB
  • Print Length: 433 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (3 Mar. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849163758
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849163750
  • ASIN: B004U4RY4W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 229 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #36,910 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I started reading this book on a flight and I did not want to put it down going through Passport control!

Having never been to Nigeria and knowing little about the cultures or politics, I thought that I could understand more from reading Tiny Sunbirds.

What I did not expect was to be drawn in to every character ( a real person to me), place and situation. I feel like I have lived among the family that the book portrays, so acutely and intimately.

It is such a cliche to say "I could not put it down" but I couldn't. I read it fairly slowly, concentrating to learn the new words and descriptions that I was learning. Smelling the oil, river and streets and tasting the new foods that I have never actually experienced.

Gasping, laughing and dismaying out loud, it was an emotional ride.

I cannot recommend this book enough, whether you want to be more informed, stimulated, inspired, gratified or simply to experience a brilliantly written, beautiful story.

Amazing that this is the authors first novel, I certainly look forward to her next.

Enjoy!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A simple tale of one family's story seen through the eyes of a young girl. Whilst nowhere near the five stars that some have given, the story touches on the contribution of "big oil" to the unrest in Nigeria in a way that is easy to understand, and does draw you in nicely to the characters within the family.
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Format: Paperback
Tiny Sunbirds Far Away is a wonderful story that is in equal measures both hilarious and heartbreaking. Tiny Sunbirds doesn't read like a debut at all, rather it is the assured voice of an author who knows the environment as intimately as she knows her characters. The way that the simmering political situation literally and figuratively explodes two-thirds of the way into the novel is handled deftly and lightly. My favourite character is definitely Celestine (I would happily supply her with more lycra from London) - and her character's progression was believable and entirely moving - but all the characters are very sensitively drawn and the dialogue moves the novel along at quite a pace. A brilliant book with a brilliant story: perfect to read in one or two sittings. Completely gripping.
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Format: Paperback
This brilliant book is so much more than just a compelling storyline with skilfully developed and believable characters. With a light hand the author touches on a variety of important topics including relationships, growing up, politics, poverty, culture and traditions in Nigeria, midwifery and the cruelty of female circumcision. The book is dark and sad but also filled with strength, hope and joy. From the first word to the last, this book will move you.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a book club choice. I'd heard Christie Watson being interviewed on Woman's Hour but wasn't too convinced I wanted to read the book. However, I was very wrong. Using a young girl who is Nigerian but uprooted from an urban environment to a rural environment is a very clever way for an outsider to convey the strangeness of village life. The deeply patriarchal attitudes made me really angry at times but there was so much more that overcame this. It's a very fascinating (and well written) tale of youngsters struggling in a new family situation with a backdrop of oil politics alongside some very complex attitudes towards female genital mutilation and women's empowerment. I should say, it's not just a woman's book - the brother's story is riveting. Heartily recommend it and the only reason it's not got 5 stars is because I reserve that score for truly excellent books.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Could a book have a more beautiful title? And the novel itself is just as gorgeous; it made me laugh, surprised me and (embarrassingly) had me crying on the tube on more than one occasion. It's one of those books that I read on my Kindle but now need to buy in paperback because I know I'll want to re-visit (and lend) it time and time again.

Blessing has spent her childhood in Lagos, living a relatively privileged life with her beloved parents and older brother Ezikiel. When things go wrong between her parents, though, Blessing finds herself transported to the Nigerian Delta to live with her grandparents. Life here is very different: her grandfather requires them to convert to Islam and, though the family lives in a large compound with their own driver, Blessing must get used to living without such luxuries as electricity and running water. This is also a region where tensions between the locals and the Western Oil Company run high.

The joy of this book is in experiencing life's ups and downs with Blessing, so I won't spoil that for future readers. But it's a story full of surprises, some wonderful and some tragic. In some cases, the rug is pulled out from under everybody's feet, but in other cases Blessing's twelve-year-old naivety means she doesn't see something coming that perhaps the reader does. For this reason, amongst others, I'm really glad that Christie Watson found Blessing's voice; I read on her website that initially the novel was told from the perspective of a white oil worker.

Blessing herself is a darling of a character. She combines childish innocence with clever observations and a very mature approach to what are often complicated relationships. She's funny and kind and often wonderfully indignant.
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