Sunday, November 24
Book Review: In the Land of the Birdfishes
Author: Rebecca Silver Slayter
Pages: EBook 261
Summary: This remarkable novel about mythmaking and survival opens in rural Nova Scotia, where two sisters witness the suicide of their wild, beautiful mother. Their father, sick with grief, blindfolds the children to shield them from the misery of the world. Left that way for years, they are each scarred in their own way: Mara is rendered fully blind, and Aileen partly so. When a neighbour discovers their condition, they are immediately separated for treatment, and it isn’t until decades later, after Aileen’s marriage has fallen apart, that she decides to seek out her lost sister. She heads to Dawson City, Yukon, where Mara is said to be living, but instead finds Mara’s angry young son, Jason.
Soon Aileen has insinuated her way into the hard-drinking, hard-living existence of Dawson City’s residents, from whom she hears various conflicting stories about her sister. When the novel shifts to Jason’s perspective, the reader starts to understand the nature of these stories and the underlying secrets that compel their creation.
My Rating: 8.75/10
What I liked/disliked about the book: The first couple of chapter captured me completely, I had no knowledge of what was going on around me, it was just the book. Those first two chapters were haunting, intriguing and were a great way to start off a story. Unfortunately while the rest of the book was a great read, I did feel the book lot some of its initial appeal, mainly due to some awkward narrative and plot developments.
My biggest issue with the book was that I found the narrative to be a bit awkward and disconnected at times. As I said above, the first few chapters captured me, to the point I was completely lost in the book, other times the was just something about the narrative that didn't work right. It was like pieces and thought process were thrown into the story, but not properly connected to the story as a whole. It did become a bit confusing at times because of this and for me, it's the reason between being this book from being great read to an extraordinary one. It was odd how the narrative worked out in parts, which of course affected the plot itself.
I loved the idea behind the plot, it had some fantastic bits to it, twists and turns as well, but there was just that one thing, hanging in the back, that stopped it from being even better. There was an awkwardness to it, but not in a good way to make it a unique plot. I often had to re-read parts because of this. The author did do a good job at bringing the characters together. They were a group of very, realistic, raw characters, who I didn't exactly like, they were a fairly miserable lot, but I loved reading about them. They were awkward like the plot, unusual, but it worked for the story, so I didn't care I couldn't connect to them, I just wanted to get lost in their story.
In the end it was a fantastic read, but it could have been better if the narrative and plot were less awkward. It is still a book I'd highly recommend.
Would I recommend it to read: I would, there are some awkward moments to how it's told, but the story was fascinating, I think it's a book that a lot of reader would enjoy.
What to read next: Clara Callen, Bone and Bread, Late Nights on the Air
Challenges: 7th Annual Canadian Book Challenge