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Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away epub

by Christie Watson


Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away epub

ISBN: 1590514661

ISBN13: 978-1590514665

Author: Christie Watson

Category: Literature and Fiction

Subcategory: Genre Fiction

Language: English

Publisher: Other Press (May 10, 2011)

Pages: 450 pages

ePUB book: 1274 kb

FB2 book: 1402 kb

Rating: 4.5

Votes: 630

Other Formats: lrf lit doc txt





From the very first page of her very first book, Christie Watson proves she possesses it, creating a voice that tells a tale we can’t put down.

From the very first page of her very first book, Christie Watson proves she possesses it, creating a voice that tells a tale we can’t put down. 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 also there.

Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away book.

Tiny sunbirds, far away, by Christie Watson. p. cm. eISBN: 978-1-59051-467-2. I had never before seen my grandparents, who lived a day’s drive away near Warri in the Niger Delta. Mama had told us once that her parents had never wanted Mama to marry Father, or any other Yoruba man. Did you make up with Grandma?

Watson originally tried writing Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away from the perspective of Dan, the white oil worker. How would Dan's perspective have changed the book? What insights might his narration have brought to the novel? What limitations might Watson have faced?.

Watson originally tried writing Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away from the perspective of Dan, the white oil worker. Membership Advantages. Beyond the Book" backstories.

The landscape of the Niger delta, the setting of Watson's Costa-shortlisted first novel, looks extraordinary on Google Earth, the river dulled by oil pollution, the burning gas flares clearly visible. Twelve-year-old Blessing, her brother Ezikiel and their mother have to give up their air-conditioned life in Lagos when Blessing's father leaves them. Blessing and Ezikiel are ambitious; he is determined to become a doctor, but the desperate situation they find themselves in corrodes dreams and corrupts souls. Yet this is not a bleak book: there is humour and love, especially in the growing relationship between Blessing and her grandmother, a traditional midwife. Absorbing and passionate.

Christie Watson (born 1976) is a British writer and retired nurse. Her first novel, Tiny Sunbirds Far Away, won the Costa First Novel Award in the 2011 Costa Book Awards. Her second novel Where Women Are Kings also won critical praise. Born in Stevenage, she left school at the age of 16 and after volunteering for a year at Scope (then the Spastics Society) went into nursing. She trained at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Watson's absorbing first novel, told through the eyes of the bright and observant Blessing, opens with a snapshot of middle-class contentment. She and her 14-year-old brother Ezikiel attend the International School for Future Leaders, live in an air-conditioned apartment and bask in the affection of their parents. Left to their own devices, the women bond together to stand up to corruption. Unlike her mother, Blessing ultimately rejects the dream of a Prince Charming whisking her off to a happier place by committing herself to her home, her homeland and her own family. The ending is a bit pat, and the book could use a few more sparks.

Vividly narrated by Blessing in words both witty and lyrical, this is the beguiling story of the strength of a family wounded by heartbreak

Vividly narrated by Blessing in words both witty and lyrical, this is the beguiling story of the strength of a family wounded by heartbreak. Full of warm, colourful characters, the balance of daily life and local traditions contrasts dramatically with political injustices and unavoidable violence. Confronting issues of race, class and religion, this book takes you deep into the reality of ordinary life in Nigeria and gives you food for thought. Find similar books Profile.

Grandma convinces Blessing to leave the room and even though goes far away she still hears the baby scream which carries a message of immense pain across. Grandma avoids the topic whenever Blessing tries to talk to her and ask questions about it. When Grandma eventually answers Blessing she says; It is the old way.

Winner of the 2011 Costa First Novel AwardWhen their mother catches their father with another woman, twelve year-old Blessing and her fourteen-year-old brother, Ezikiel, are forced to leave their comfortable home in Lagos for a village in the Niger Delta, to live with their mother’s family. Without running water or electricity, Warri is at first a nightmare for Blessing. Her mother is gone all day and works suspiciously late into the night to pay the children’s school fees. Her brother, once a promising student, seems to be falling increasingly under the influence of the local group of violent teenage boys calling themselves Freedom Fighters. Her grandfather, a kind if misguided man, is trying on Islam as his new religion of choice, and is even considering the possibility of bringing in a second wife.   But Blessing’s grandmother, wise and practical, soon becomes a beloved mentor, teaching Blessing the ways of the midwife in rural Nigeria. Blessing is exposed to the horrors of genital mutilation and the devastation wrought on the environment by British and American oil companies. As Warri comes to feel like home, Blessing becomes increasingly aware of the threats to its safety, both from its unshakable but dangerous traditions and the relentless carelessness of the modern world. Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away is the witty and beautifully written story of one family’s attempt to survive a new life they could never have imagined, struggling to find a deeper sense of identity along the way.
The book opens with a dedication by the author to a family who "helped her to fall in love with Nigeria." That seemed odd to me, and then it hit me that this book was not written by a Nigerian. Okay, fine. You don't have to be part of the culture to write about it. But what if this "love" for the culture is so new that not enough is even known about it to write an essay, let alone a novel? Here we go..
Now, forgive me for pointing this out, but it is a huge part of why I say the novel is "culturally ignorant," therefore I must mention this, and in all brutal honesty. The author Christie Watson is white and has no idea about Africans, their culture, or their physical make up. Numerous times throughout the book she mentions how a Black character gripped an object so hard their knuckles turned white. What?! Now, mind you, I am a brown skinned Black woman of Nigerian and other West African heritage. I even looked down at my own hand while I squeezed it tightly. Nope. My knuckles don't turn white at all. White people's knuckles do, but not Black people's. We stay brown. How did she miss this? HOW can Watson claim to be in love the culture and NOT know about the PEOPLE of the culture?
Also, she kept referring to hair that can be "taken off" as a "weave." That is not a weave. That is a wig. Wigs can be taken off. Weaves are tracks of hair sew onto cornrow braids that are attached to the scalp. That is Black hair 101. That is African, West African, Caribbean, and African American common knowledge, especially if you are a woman. And why is there hardly any mention of hair braiding sessions, a large part of African life? Meh. These things just stuck out for me and ruined the book in addition to the poor writing style and lack of character development and information about Nigeria in general.
And speaking of characters, is Blessing challenged? She seemed developmentally slow, especially for a 12 year old growing up in a large city such as Lagos. As another reviewer posted, she seemed like she was at off 6 years old at times. And she remained this way even after her father cheated on her mother, her brother got shot, and she delivered countless babies by sticking her hands in women's birth canals and pulling them out. How. Does. She. Remain. So. Dense? That was so unrealistic. I felt as if I were reading Dora the Black Explorer for a second. "Can YOU tell me why my father left my mommy?.....Good!"
Also, the Black men are the stereotypical angry Black men (way to go, Watson), the mother is sexually devious and abandons her daughter and son for a man who pays her (way to go again, Watson), the grandmother is the "magical Black person" in the novel (major side eye to that), and then there is a trademark Knight in Shining White Skin (reeeeeally?) who comes to save the day.
And the story is slow. And it doesn't mention much about Africa compared to other novels based in Africa.
I just can't with this book. Please look for other books based in Africa that are actually eye opening and not quickly put together by someone who recently learned Africa is not a country. Sheesh.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a good start.
This is a novel that profoundly affected me, as Blessing told her life story. From a world of privilege and luxury, she and her family are thrust suddenly into a life of wretched poverty and horror. The water and air are polluted from the oil companty's plant, the crops wither and die, and as a result, hunger and malnourisment--in one of the richest agricultural parts of Africa--are constant. Both of Blessing's grandparents are educated--her grandfather is a petroleum engineer, but has never found work in his field...despite the oil company almost in his backyard. All engineering jobs are filled by white men from American and Great Britain; local blacks are given "ghost jobs" (a desk, a computer, and no real work to do). Blessing's grandmother is a midwife, and well educated in sanitation and medicine. Had she been a white woman, she would probably be an OB/GYN doctor. She teaches Blessing the work of a midwife, and this work is what gives Blessing strength to endure the relentless poverty and terror they all live in. Teenage boys are given guns by the oil companies, who also employ "Kill and Go" police, and the villagers live in terror of them.

This book has a great deal to say about the politics of oil, of weapons, and of food. It's a hard story to read, in many places, as you realize how people are being destroyed, physically and psychologically, by these politics. It's a powerful message.
This book was recommended to me by another person and I loved it. Twelve-year-old Blessing, her brother Ezikiel and their mother have to give up their air-conditioned life in Lagos when Blessing's father leaves them. Their only option is to go home to her grandparents' compound in the delta. It's a profound shock to find themselves in terrible poverty, without clean water or electricity and subject to raids by the terrifying "Area boys". While oil companies profit from the "black gold", communities are being torn apart by sectarian violence. Blessing and Ezikiel are ambitious; he is determined to become a doctor, but the desperate situation they find themselves in corrodes dreams and corrupts souls. Yet this is not a bleak book: there is humour and love, especially in the growing relationship between Blessing and her grandmother, a traditional midwife
I initially wasn't sure if I liked this book, but as I got deeper into the story, it began to grab me. I initially thought they were just another dysfunctional family, but began to realize that some of what I saw as dysfunctional, was culture. I had to step back and shift "my" perspective. I enjoy reading foreign books for that very reason, seeking out other cultures and learning about the people and what drives them. As an avid reader I've learned that even in fiction there is truth. I finished this book knowing more about the people, region and their plight. If I would have had to rate midway through, it would have been maybe 2.5 stars, but I'm glad I did not stop there. It was a good book told from the perspective of 12 year old Blessing.
Wow! I could not out this one down! The story of a young girl who came of age despite and because of the adversity she faced! She was forced to leave her comfortable life for one of poverty, due to the indiscretions of her father. Blessing, her mother and brother were transformed in different ways by the circumstances they faced. Through it all, Blessing's grandmother was there for her, teaching her wisdom and skills that would change her life! Emotional and beautifully written story! A must read!