Christi Lefteri returns to the blog with another story of struggle, hope, desperation and courage with
When you see the images on television of people, women, children – desperate to find a safe life and opportunity elsewhere who risk everything: violence, lives, friendships, and money – just to start again – do you ever wonder? I always do – just how desperate and horrible things must be for you to risk it all and leave: not knowing anything about where you will land EXCEPT you have the hopes it will be better? Or what about those who have left their families and children behind, mainly to take advantage of opportunities elsewhere to earn money to send home in the hopes that your family will fare better with your contributions?
This story, based in Cyprus introduces us to Yiannis – a poacher who spends his time during the migration of songbirds capturing them to sell on the black market – and his love for Nisha who left Sri Lanka to work as a domestic, sending money home to the relatives who are raising her daughter. About her employer Petra and her struggles to get the authorities to pay attention when Nisha goes missing – and they think she’s simply another immigrant who took advantage of the option to flee the work and start over. More broadly it’s about the struggle of refugees and the plight of many – finding not opportunity but abuse and even death – all in efforts to make a better life for their own families.
Much like the first I read from this author – there are tears, tension, worry and a sense of despair, yet there is hope. The strength and determination to take on the odds in the effort to make a difference: the self-denial and deprivation required to send every possible penny back, and the good fortune when one meets someone who truly cares – a rarity in most cases. There is information and truths buried within this book as well, as the story is based in disappearances that are, probably, more common than described here, and the dismissal by authorities: whether from actual disinterest, dislike of the foreigners, lack of funds or even the simple – don’t have the wherewithal to investigate – the story will leave you asking questions and seeing the stories of refugees desperate at border crossings (or chancing the illegal options) in a whole new light.
Author: Christy Lefteri
Genre: Literary Fiction, Assimilation, Dark-theme, Friendship, Grief, Political commentary, Refugee Stories, Second Chance, Sociological Relevancy, Woman's Fiction
Published by: Ballantine Books
Published on: 3 August, 2021
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Audio Length: 9 Hours: 20 minutes
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From the prize-winning author of The Beekeeper of Aleppo,</em< a stunning novel about the disappearance of a Sri Lankan nanny and how the most vulnerable people find their voices.
It began with a crunch of leaves and earth. So early, so cold, the branches shone with ice. I'd returned to collect the songbirds. They are worth more than their weight in gold.
Yiannis is a poacher, trapping the tiny protected songbirds that stop in Cyprus as they migrate each year from Africa to Europe and selling them on the black market. He dreams of finding a new way of life, and of marrying Nisha, who works on the island as a nanny and maid--having left her native Sri Lanka to try to earn enough to support her daughter, left behind and raised by relatives.
But Nisha has vanished; one evening, she steps out on a mysterious errand and doesn't return. The police write off her disappearance as just another runaway domestic worker, so her employer, Petra, undertakes the investigation.
Petra's unravelling of Nisha's last days in Cyprus lead her to Nisha's friends--other maids in the neighborhood--and to the darker side of a migrant's life, where impossible choices leave them vulnerable, captive, and worse.
Based on the real-life disappearance of domestic workers in Cyprus, Christy Lefteri has crafted a poignant, deeply empathetic narrative of the human stories behind the headlines. With infinite tenderness and skill, Songbirds offers a triumphant story of the fight for truth and justice, and of women reclaiming their lost voices.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.