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הסתר הודעה

  ניווט ראשי
When We Were Birds
תמונה של  When We Were Birds
When We Were Birds
A Novel
קח בהשאלה קח בהשאלה
A mythic love story set in Trinidad, Ayanna Lloyd Banwo's radiant debut is a masterwork of lush imagination and exuberant storytelling—a spellbinding and hopeful novel about inheritance, loss, and love's seismic power to heal.

“Heartwarming and heartbreaking, fantastical and familiar, with characters that burrow their way into your heart and mind with their tragedies and triumphs, When We Were Birds more than sings, more than beams. It is the kind of story that makes you want to spread your arms open wide, embrace the sky, and take flight in your own little way."—Robert Jones, Jr., New York Times bestselling author of The Prophets
 
"A searing symphony of magic and loss, love and hope, where in the middle of death, love comes shiny, sparkling and alive. This book might just heal you."Marlon James, New York Times bestselling author of Black Leopard, Red Wolf
In the old house on a hill, where the city meets the rainforest, Yejide’s mother is dying. She is leaving behind a legacy that now passes to Yejide: one St Bernard woman in every generation has the power to shepherd the city’s souls into the afterlife. But after years of suffering her mother’s neglect and bitterness, Yejide is looking for a way out.
 
Raised in the countryside by a devout Rastafarian mother, Darwin has always abided by the religious commandment not to interact with death. He has never been to a funeral, much less seen a dead body. But when the only job he can find is grave digging, he must betray the life his mother built for him in order to provide for them both. Newly shorn of his dreadlocks and his past, and determined to prove himself, Darwin finds himself adrift in a city electric with possibility and danger.
 
Yejide and Darwin will meet inside the gates of Fidelis, an ancient and sprawling cemetery, where the dead lie uneasy in their graves and a reckoning with fate beckons them both.
A mythic love story set in Trinidad, Ayanna Lloyd Banwo's radiant debut is a masterwork of lush imagination and exuberant storytelling—a spellbinding and hopeful novel about inheritance, loss, and love's seismic power to heal.

“Heartwarming and heartbreaking, fantastical and familiar, with characters that burrow their way into your heart and mind with their tragedies and triumphs, When We Were Birds more than sings, more than beams. It is the kind of story that makes you want to spread your arms open wide, embrace the sky, and take flight in your own little way."—Robert Jones, Jr., New York Times bestselling author of The Prophets
 
"A searing symphony of magic and loss, love and hope, where in the middle of death, love comes shiny, sparkling and alive. This book might just heal you."Marlon James, New York Times bestselling author of Black Leopard, Red Wolf
In the old house on a hill, where the city meets the rainforest, Yejide’s mother is dying. She is leaving behind a legacy that now passes to Yejide: one St Bernard woman in every generation has the power to shepherd the city’s souls into the afterlife. But after years of suffering her mother’s neglect and bitterness, Yejide is looking for a way out.
 
Raised in the countryside by a devout Rastafarian mother, Darwin has always abided by the religious commandment not to interact with death. He has never been to a funeral, much less seen a dead body. But when the only job he can find is grave digging, he must betray the life his mother built for him in order to provide for them both. Newly shorn of his dreadlocks and his past, and determined to prove himself, Darwin finds himself adrift in a city electric with possibility and danger.
 
Yejide and Darwin will meet inside the gates of Fidelis, an ancient and sprawling cemetery, where the dead lie uneasy in their graves and a reckoning with fate beckons them both.
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  • From the cover 1

    Yejide

    “First thing you have to remember,” Granny Catherine hold her granddaughter, Yejide, close on her lap, “is that there was a time before time.” She press the first layer of tobacco down into the ebony bowl. The flame from her silver lighter make a small blaze in the cavern of the bowl and the pipe settle between her lips. “Before we come to live in this house, before the settlement in the valley, before the quarries, when the forest was so thick that no man could cross it, Morne Marie was the home only of animals. But not like animals we see now, oh no!” Catherine open her eyes wide and the blue smoke curl out of her nostrils. “The ocelots was big like tigers, the deer run so fast that no man could catch them even if he dare enter the forest to hunt them, and the little green parrots that sing at dusk was as big as the ​­blood-​­red ibis that live in the swamplands. The animals could talk to each other, just like I talking now, and they build a mighty city in the forest. But this city was nothing like Port Angeles. It had no buildings, no boundaries, no gates, and the animals live together without territory to guard and borders to mind.

    “But one day a warrior wander into the forest. He see that it full of animals to hunt and fruit to eat. When he look at the trees he only see the houses he could build, and when he look at the land he only see what he could take. The animals try to talk to him and tell him that there was so much more there than what he could see, but he did not know their language and so could not understand them.

    “That warrior bring more warriors and with the warriors come builders and with the builders come farmers and with the farmers come priests. With the priests come governors and with the governors come death.”

    “But the animals fight them, right?” Yejide squirm on her granny lap. Nothing she love more than this ​­full-​­cupboard feeling: the sweet smell of tobacco, the even rhythm of the rocking chair, the green hills and her granny face brimming with story. She think of the sharp teeth of the ocelots and the tight grip of the macajuel that could suffocate a man in its coils; no way any human with just two legs, very small teeth and no poison at all could ever defeat the wild animals of the forest.

    Catherine look at her and puff on her pipe. “Who telling the story, you or me?”

    Yejide grin and quiet down again.

    “The animals had always live in peace, but they know then that it was time for war. The battle rage bloody and terrible. The quarry you see there”—​Catherine point out the window to the deep brown crater on the ​­hillside—“was where the animals make a stand in a battle so fierce that it leave scars on the mountain.

    “All that killing cut the forest deep. Wounded, it went into mourning and that bring the longest dry season ever on Morne Marie. The rivers hide in the earth and the trees wilt and die away. The ocelots shrink small like house cats, the howler monkeys get timid, and the deer and manicou and lappe, who had live in peace before, start to look at each other and see food. The warriors suffer too, for no one, man nor animal, could survive when nature decide to withhold its bounty.

    “Then one day when all were weary, and it look like the war would claim not only the fighters but the whole forest, a great storm set up in the hills. Fat, grey clouds empty out into the green and the men and animals rejoice to see the rivers rise again, and the forest drink deep of the rain. Thunder...
על המחבר-
  • AYANNA LLOYD BANWO is a writer from Trinidad and Tobago. Her work has been published in The Caribbean Writer, Moko Magazine, Small Axe, POUi, Pree, Callaloo, and Anomaly. She is a graduate of the M.A. in Creative Writing program from the University of East Anglia and is now a postgraduate researcher in Creative-Critical Writing at UEA. When We Were Birds is her first novel.
ביקורות-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from January 31, 2022
    In Banwo’s moving and mythic debut, set in Trinidad and Tobago, a woman juggles a supernatural bond to her home and a whirlwind romance. Born in a large multigenerational house in Morne Marie, Yejide watches her mother, Petronella, recede from the world after the death of Petronella’s twin sister, Geraldine; she lives in a near coma for a year before dying herself. Petronella then visits Yejide as a ghost and passes to her the ability to communicate with spirits that has been shared by generations of women in their family. Meanwhile, Emmanual Darwin leaves the countryside for the city of Port Angeles to take a job in the Fidelis cemetery. It’s not the dead Darwin must fear, but the living, as his coworkers pull him into a scheme involving the disposal of bodies on behalf of politicians and other powerful men. Yejide and Darwin meet at Fidelis to prepare Petronella’s grave for burial. More than love at first sight, their connection is strongly spiritual. Yejide is also attached to her home, and to the boarders in her mother’s house who depend on her, so things get especially complicated when Darwin gets in trouble with his coworkers and they consider fleeing together. Banwo’s stunning lyricism offers a window into her characters as well as a view of the landscape, as when Darwin heads to Port Angeles: “Easy to feel hopeful when the sky clear, the air have some leftover rain in it and the hills green and lush.” The otherworldly setting instantly pulls the reader in. This remarkable debut should not be missed.

  • Library Journal

    Starred review from June 1, 2022

    Set amid the graveyards and gritty cities of Trinidad and Tobago, Banwo's otherworldly debut depicts the blossoming relationship between two young Trinidadians. Raised as a Rastafarian, Darwin takes a job as a gravedigger, effectively estranging himself from his family, as his faith prohibits any business associated with the dead. Darwin soon finds that his unscrupulous coworkers, who use the cemetery for their own nefarious means, are more dangerous than the dead could ever be. Meanwhile, upon the death of her mother, Petronella, Yejide is shocked to discover that she is part of an ancient line of remarkable women who are tasked with ferrying souls to the afterworld. Darwin's and Yejide's paths converge within the unsettling confines of the Fidelis cemetery, where they discover a powerful connection between themselves and begin to understand their role in helping the living and the dead find peace. Narrators Sydney Darius's and Wendell Manwarren's performances--authentic, emotional, and perfectly in tune with the lyricism of Banwo's text--are sublime. Both narrators offer heartfelt, unmediated performances and channel the rhythms and tone of this richly evocative novel. VERDICT Highly recommended, particularly where interest in love stories and Caribbean magical realism is high.--Sarah Hashimoto

    Copyright 2022 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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When We Were Birds
When We Were Birds
A Novel
Ayanna Lloyd Banwo
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