Nisha has crossed oceans to give her child a future. By day she cares for Petra’s daughter; at night she mothers her own little girl by the light of a phone.
Nisha’s lover, Yiannis, is a poacher, hunting the tiny songbirds on their way to Africa each winter. His dreams of a new life, and of marrying Nisha, are shattered when she vanishes.
No one cares about the disappearance of a domestic worker, except Petra and Yiannis. As they set out to search for her, they realise how little they know about Nisha. What they uncover will change them all.
Songbirds is a beautiful and emotional novel inspired by a recent tragedy in Cyprus in which five migrant workers and two children disappeared. Female migrant workers travel to Cyprus in the hope of making a better life for themselves and for their families and there is a strong analogy in the book of these women to the songbirds who also flock to Cyprus. It’s a beautifully crafted and compelling story which will immediately captivate you and draw you in. The writing is exquisite, it’s richly descriptive and I enjoyed reading about Cyprus, the landscape, culture and food, so evocative I could smell the Jasmine, spices and hear the bird song.
The storyline is brilliant being taken up mostly by the mysterious disappearance of Nisha and piecing together what has happened to her. Although the pacing felt slow the plot is so compelling it took no time at all to read. The story is told from the alternating points of view of Petra, Nisha’s employer, and Yiannis, her friend and lover. The characters are faultless, they have personality, depth and are beautifully drawn.
There is some unbelievably haunting imagery, one of which is the gradual decomposition of the hare marking time and I imagined these sections were in some way linked to Nisha. The songbird poaching is a real eye opener and the mistreatment of these birds was quite graphic and heartbreaking, however the atmosphere created in these scenes was absolutely breathtaking. These beautiful creatures are being captured and killed to sell to restaurants as forbidden delicacies, still singing their little hearts out until they take their last breath.
Songbirds is a powerful, beautifully written and incredibly well researched book portraying the difficulties and suffering migrant workers faced. A thought-provoking and eye-opening novel which has deeply touched me and I will be thinking about it for years to come.
Publisher: Manilla Press
Publication Date (UK): 8 July 2021
Page Count: 400
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Thank you to the publisher for the gifted advanced copy of this beautiful book in exchange for an honest review.
Please do not hesitate to comment below if you liked my review or have any comments about this book 😊