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 and strikingly captured in Adjoa Andoh's sensitive reading, Tiny Sunbirds Far Away shows how some families can survive almost anything. At times hilarious, always poignant, and occasionally tragic, this audiobook bursts with life and the voices of characters you will never forget.
©2011 Christie Watson (P)2012 Quercus Publishing Plc
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.
Say something about yourself!
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.
I was enchanted by this book. One of the best I have read / listened to in several years. The characters are extremely well crafted and the plot is full of surprises. I can't wait for Christie Watson to bring out another, perhaps a sequel. Adjoa Andoh's narration was superb, bringing the characters to life. This book made me feel that the Niger Delta is the first place and the last place on earth that I should want to visit.
Charming and Beautifully told by an amazing narrator. I brought this as part of the " buy two and get one free" offer and im so glad I found it and didn't over look it. Its a story I will always remember.
The narrator! She was absolutely sublime. Every character had a different voice, but they were all perfect. The story itself was funny, sad, heartbreaking, inspiring.
I honestly couldn't, it's not comparable to anything.
EVERYTHING! She was absolutely amazing. Every voice, the accents, her vocal inflection - she was simply wonderful.
I bought this book as part of an audible offer, and am very glad I did. It is well written and beautifully read by Adjoa Andoh. As other reviewers have noted, it covers many of the issues affecting Nigeria, (and many other places), including Western exploitation, armed rebellion, religious conflict, domestic violence and FGM. This breadth of scope is my main criticism - it does sometimes feel as though the author was trying to cover every issue, and the plot is therefore sometimes contrived. Also note - it is not for the squeamish! But overall, well worth the listen. NB For more on West Africa (in a slightly different area and time) I would highly recommend Half of a Yellow Sun, with the same narrator.
I love books, what else can I say.
The narrator. As if she was telling her own story.
The subtle humour and the frankness of the families ordeal.
I found myself praying for good things to happen to Blessing and her family as the story progressed and I felt like I was experiencing her situation alongside her. Fabulous narration.
Just listen to/read it you won't regret it.
Different, funny, sad.
Every character was different, I couldn't say I had a favourite really.
When granpas 'new wife' arrived!!! She is a larger than life character and so, so funny and outrageous. The voice the narrator gave her was so suited to her, it had me laughing out loud!
Yes. It took me away to another land far away. To a different culture and way of life. I would close my eyes and just picture every scene. Some of the book was quite harrowing to listen to other parts had me laughing out loud, still other parts made me want to cry. The book had everything in it. It would make a brilliant film!
The narrator is one of the BEST I have listened to (on a par with the narrators in The Help) She had a different voice for each character. I really don't know how she thought all the different voices up and she never got them mixed up - you knew instantly who was talking as soon as she spoke in their character, even before the book explained who was talking. She is a brilliant narrator. It was like listening to a play at times. If you have listened to end enjoyed 'The Help', you will love this - and vice-verca
This is a moving story full of colourful, interesting characters, and evocative description.It gives an insight into what life can be like for people in a country beset by conflict of culture, religion, wealth and poverty, and exploitation by multinational companies.It is beautifully written, and beautifully told. The narrator is outstanding: she puts just the right expression into every sentence and uses a variety of accents with equal skill, providing just the right voice to suit each character.
Yes, I would recommend this audiobook to a friend as it was a compelling multi-layered story with richly drawn characters and a strong sense of place. I also liked the narration and the accents.
The way that some very important issues were woven into the context of the story.
"I heard Grandma's stories in my ears" - Blessing tells her family story to her daughter
I would not recommend this as a book to listen to before sleep or while driving as there were some harrowing scenes where I felt myself quite distressed. I would still urge people to give it a listen though, as it was good story and well read.
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