Summary

Winner of the Costa first novel award. 
'Everything changed after Mama found Father lying on top of another woman.'
Blessing and her brother Ezikiel adore their larger-than-life father, their glamorous mother and their comfortable life in Lagos. But all that changes when their father leaves them for another woman. Their mother is fired from her job at the Royal Imperial Hotel - only married women can work there - and soon they have to quit their air-conditioned apartment to go and live with their grandparents in a compound in the Niger Delta.
Adapting to life with a poor countryside family is a shock beyond measure after their privileged upbringing in Lagos. Told in Blessing's own beguiling voice, Tiny Sunbirds Far Away shows how some families can survive almost anything. At times hilarious, always poignant, occasionally tragic, it is peopled with characters you will never forget.
©2011 Christie Watson (P)2012 Quercus Publishing Plc
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Critic reviews

"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." (The Guardian)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Georgeia on 01-08-12

Beautifully words and narration

I came across this book by chance, after following a link to see what others who had also purchased a book I was then reading had also read. I have to say that I am so glad that I did. The story is told from the view point of 12 year old Blessing who lives a comfortable life with her mother, father and older brother in an upmarket compound in Lagos. When her father ups and leaves for another woman the family is forced to move in with Blessings eldery grandparents, who live in a village in the Niger Delta, with no running water, no electricity and the ever present threat of political uprising just a not-so-distant gunshot away. As well as dealing with the lack of modern day comforts, Blessing is also introduced to a world of religion and age-old customs that she finds both comforting and shocking respectively. All the characters are wondeful, with so much depth assigned to each of them that it is impossible not to love them all and by turns both laugh and cry with them as the author unfolds their story.
The narrator is amazing. She acts each character so perfectly and her diction is clear and delightful to listen to. I could easily tell which character was speaking at any one time from the voices that she gives them. It is so nice to listen to a book which is properly acted by the narrator, (another example of which would be the fantastic The Help), instead of just read out loud.
All round I would highly recommend this book, it is uplifting, funny, sad, informative, scary and heartwarming.

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11 of 11 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Amelia on 14-07-13

Imagery from spoken word evoke strong feelings

This story set in Nigeria is so readable and listening to it read by Adjoa Andoh was so lovely and the imagery and feeling it produced was very real. I enjoyed the characters of Blessing and her Grandmother and Celestine especially. Blessings mother although present throughout the novel always seemed to be on the fringes of her life and maybe had difficulty showing and or responding to emotions. The political climate and time of the novel made it difficult to exist and the life of Ezikiel was very difficult as a result. The fact that the story was told through the eyes of Blessing made it more enjoyable.
The role of Grandmother as the local midwife and what that entailed was very interesting to me as a midwife and I really enjoyed these sections of the story.
Life was hard for women and the domestic violence elements of the story Celestine endured were not pleasant especially when they were considered necessary by other female members of the family.
The narration was fantastic and totally made the story I so so enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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