Monday, 25 August 2014

Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernieres

Date Finished: 24 August 2014

Rating: 5*

Beautifully insightful, inspiring and deeply moving, ‘Birds Without Wings’ could very easily have been one of the best books I’ve read this year.

Although I’ve only read one other of Louis de Bernieres’s books –‘Notwithstanding’, which I thoroughly enjoyed at age thirteen, but on hindsight might have to reread it in order to fully understand its depth – I think that after reading ‘Birds Without Wings’, he’s quickly jumped to the top of my list of favourite authors. His writing is stunning, and I can’t seem to get nearly enough of it. He makes it seem so effortless to write a six hundred-page novel about the supposedly ordinary lives of insignificant people in an almost forgotten community.

De Bernieres weaves the lives of his characters expertly, inspiring in the reader a deep empathy for a community so incredibly lost in stupendous ignorance of the outside world that Greeks and Turks are able to live together peacefully, despite their religious and cultural differences. The careful crafting of the story and witty humour interspersed with gasp-worthy moments of scandal and excitement creates a flow of events that makes the novel unbearable to be put down. I have a feeling that the characters and their separate narratives will haunt my dreams for months, but I can’t find it in myself to shudder at the thought of this.

‘Birds Without Wings’ is phenomenal, and I highly, highly recommend it, but only to people who are able to set aside several days of doing nothing other than reading, and then a further day or two to recover and shed a couple of tears.

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