Tail of the Blue Bird

Nii Ayikwei Parkes, Author
Nii Ayikwei Parkes, Flipped Eye (www.flippedeye.net), $14 trade paper (197p) ISBN 978-0-9818584-3-2
Reviewed on: 02/07/2011
Release date: 01/01/2011
Paperback - 176 pages - 978-0-09-952612-4
Open Ebook - 176 pages - 978-1-4464-6625-4
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At the beginning of award-winning Ghanaian writer Parkes's debut novel, life in the quiet village of Sonokrom is disrupted by a minister's girlfriend in a short skirt "whose eyes would not lie still." Arriving by car, she follows a stench—and a hunch—into the abandoned hut of a man named Kofi Atta, and the narrator of these early pages, hunter Opanyin Poku, follows. So many maggots swarm the remains; "the hut was filled with their buzzing." The case draws the attention of a power-hungry inspector who forces Kayo, a talented young forensic pathologist, into service, pairing him with the able Constable Garba. Kayo is able to gain the confidence of a local medicine man so that he can collect research samples while still respecting traditions. He's alarmed by oddities related to the case, like a blue bird feather that appears when the remains are burned. But the inspector isn't interested in oddities; he wants a "CSI-style report." A beguiling exploration of the power of storytelling—ancient stories and humble, modern and official. "On this earth," Kayo learns, "we have to choose the story we tell, because it affects...how we live." (Jan.)
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