Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away

Christie Watson. Other Press, $15.95 trade paper (448p) ISBN 978-1-59051-466-5
In Watson's impressive debut, 12-year-old Blessing is uprooted from her suburban Lagos, Nigeria, life when her mother Timi catches their father with another woman and moves Blessing and her brother, Ezikiel, to the outskirts of the dangerous, oil-rich Niger delta. The proximity to the oil fields, which erupt often in smoke, oil, and violence, exacerbates Ezikiel's poor health, and it's not long before a stray bullet sends him to the hospital. He survives, and takes up wandering the "evil forest" bush, home of the Sibeye boys, who kidnap oil workers and eat fireflies for strength. When Timi falls for a white oil worker, the Sibeyes become interested. Ezikiel takes up with them, discarding his dreams of becoming a doctor even as Blessing begins to help deliver babies, which gives her the confidence to take a stand against the genital mutilation that midwifes traditionally perform. 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. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/28/2011
Release date: 05/01/2011
Genre: Fiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4551-2152-6
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-4551-2147-2
Paperback - 422 pages - 978-1-84916-374-3
MP3 CD - 978-1-4551-2150-2
Compact Disc - 978-1-4551-2149-6
Compact Disc - 978-1-4551-2148-9
Open Ebook - 221 pages - 978-1-59051-467-2
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-4551-2153-3
Paperback - 467 pages - 978-1-84916-375-0
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