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Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away: A Novel Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged

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Editorial Reviews

Review

''An excellent novel. It takes the reader deep into the reality of ordinary life in Nigeria and is also funny, moving, and politically alert.'' --Giles Foden, award-winning author of The Last King of Scotland

''A sure-footed debut narrated by twelve-year-old Blessing, a girl growing up too fast in the troubled Niger Delta.'' --People

''[An] impressive debut . . . Watson's nuanced portrayal of daily life in Nigeria is peopled with flawed but tenacious characters who fight not only for survival but for dignity. Blessing is a wonderful narrator whose vivid impressions enliven Watson's sensual prose.'' --Publishers Weekly (starred review)

''[An] absorbing first novel, told through the eyes of the bright and observant Blessing . . . A memorable debut novel about a Nigerian girl's coming of age.'' --Kirkus Reviews

''A fascinating, poignant story that had me laughing in places and deeply moved in others.'' --Ike Anya, Nigerian public-health physician and writer

''A first novel that knows how to tell a story, concocting a voice that lures us. Perfect pitch is not reserved for musicians; some novelists have it, too. From the very first page of her very first book, Christie Watson proves she possesses it, creating a voice that tells a tale we can't put down.'' --Barnes and Noble, editorial review

''Christie Watson's debut novel, set in the troubled Niger Delta, does what fiction does best: it captures place and characters so well that you feel you are also there. It is sincere, it is powerfully written, and it deserves to be read.'' --Helon Habila, award-winning author of Oil on Water

''Watson has written an immensely absorbing novel. It is both heart wrenching and consoling.'' --Chika Unigwe, author of On Black Sisters' Street

''Lyrical and beautifully drawn, a poignant coming-of-age tale, set in an Africa few readers will have experienced. A must-read.'' --Lesley Lokko, author of Sundowners, Saffron Skies, and Bitter Chocolate

''The gripping, triumphant tale of a girl who chooses life over loss, in a sweet but savage world where oil is bled from the earth.'' --Lola Shoneyin, author of The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives

''So good I had to lie down after reading it.'' --Trezza Azzopardi, author of The Song House

''Confronting issues of race, class, and religion, this work ponders idealistic ignorance in a way that is reminiscent of Chinua Achebe's No Longer at Ease. Watson's story will appeal to readers of African and literary fiction.'' --Library Journal

''Through the lens of young girl's coming-of-age, this breakthrough novel views the politics of contemporary Nigeria, portraying the clash between traditional and modern as it affects one extended family.'' --Booklist

About the Author

CHRISTIE WATSON trained as a pediatric nurse at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London and worked as a senior staff nurse and educator for over ten years before joining the University of East Anglia for her MA in creative writing. There she won the Malcolm Bradbury Bursary for her work. She lives in South London with her Nigerian Muslim partner and their large dual-heritage family.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.; Unabridged edition (August 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1455121495
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455121496
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 5.2 x 6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,074,675 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Michelle C on May 10, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away gives us a fascinating look at life through the innocent eyes of a twelve year old girl growing up in a small village in Warri, Nigeria.
Abruptly uprooted from all the modern comforts of life as she knew it, Blessing , her mother, and 14 year old brother are forced to move to the rural village of her mother's newly converted Muslim family in Warri. Initially shocked and horrified by the living conditions of this impoverished community, Blessing eventually learns to adapt, and then gradually to cherish her new life.
I won't go into more details about the events in this novel, so as not to give anything away, but I will say that this novel doesn't fail to deliver plenty of drama and excitement. The characters in this story are so realistically brought to life that I fell in love with every member of this family! At times I had my doubts that they were entirely fictional.
Set against the lush Nigerian backdrop, this riveting and beautiful tale completely took hold of my emotions and I cried so many different kinds of tears.
Christie Watson has obviously done her research for this debut novel and I will defiantly be keeping an eye out for future works from her.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By TrishNYC VINE VOICE on August 24, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Blessings seemingly perfect life is destroyed when her mother, Timi, comes home early and finds her husband in flagrante delicto with another woman. After the shouting and screaming, the reality of the situation is that the her father decides that he wants to be the new woman and moves out of the house. Blessing's mother tries to eke out a living for herself, Blessing and her son Ezikiel but she finds it very hard with the loss of her husband's income. But the final straw and deciding factor is the loss of her job because of the change in her marital status. The whole family moves to the Niger Delta, her mother's ancestral home, where Blessing is exposed to shocking realities that her leisured life is Lagos didn't prepare her for.

Blessing is shocked by the poverty and dirt that welcome her when she arrives her grandparents' home and soon realizes that the life she knew is gone. The other children she encounters are unwashed and uneducated and she wonders how she can survive this place. Her new life seems to be full of one change after another, one hardship after another and soon all her former hopes are extinguished.

I wanted to love this book. I lived in Nigeria for many years and anytime I see a book on the subject of Nigeria, I am immediately interested to read it. But I think that my personal knowledge of Nigeria that made certain things about this book jump out at me. As I read, it sometimes felt like I was reading a book by someone who had read a guide book on Nigeria and was throwing out information and random tidbits that did not always fit in with the story being portrayed. This made the book seem less authentic to me.

I loved Blessing, she was a sweet girl. She was smart, funny and extremely patient of those around her.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Beverly Jackson VINE VOICE on June 21, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Tiny Sunbirds Far Away by Christie Watson opens with 12 year-old Blessing speaking to the charmed life she lives in Lagos, Nigeria with her larger-than-life father, doting mother, and her 14 year-old brother, Ezikiel. All of this will suddenly change when the mother catches the father with another woman, and he decides to leave. The father's departure starts off a chain of events; first the mother is fired from her job for being unmarried, and now unable to afford living in Lagos, moves to her parent's rural village in the troubled Delta. From the first sickening smells as they are approaching the Delta, Blessing will experience changes not only in her environment, but also will need to manage what is expected of her as a young Nigerian girl living in a village.

This enthralling coming-of-age story shows the resilience of people to adapt and overcome obstacles trying to be true to themselves with as much dignity as possible. Blessing engages the reader on her journey by merging the strange with the familiar, showing how lives are shaped by the culture and politics. As the story is told from Blessings point-of-view, like most coming-of-age stories it may expose issues without the depth some readers may like. This is not the shortcoming of the author, but of the genre. Many themes such as corporation corruption and female circumcision may render this tale too troublesome for teenage readers, while other such as the challenges obtaining elementary education, and destruction of the environment would engage the teenage reader. Through all of the chaos happening in her life, Blessing does have a guiding hand to help her demystify her new world, Nana, her grandmother.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By delicateflower152 TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 27, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Father was a loud man..." So begins the story, as told by the protagonist Blessing, of her childhood and of growing up in Nigeria. Christie Watson's "Tiny Sunbirds Far Away" takes the reader on a journey through Blessing's life into adulthood.

It is through Blessing's eyes that the reader experiences both her familial conflict and the political turmoil gripping Nigeria. Having left an urban setting, Blessing and her brother Ezekiel must adapt to her mother's hometown of Warri and the rural, less privileged lifestyle of their mother's family. Apprenticed to her grandmother, a renowned midwife, Blessing will find her life's calling. Both Ezekiel and Blessing's mother will face challenges as their lives change; their choices will significantly affect not only their own lives, but also those of other family members. As Blessing matures, she begins to appreciate the wisdom of her grandparents and the culture they represent. She also begins to recognize and to accept the real reasons that her mother returned to her childhood home.

"Tiny Sunbirds Far Away" is a beautifully crafted novel that incorporates Nigerian culture and civil unrest into the story of a girl's coming of age. Narrated in the first person, the maturing of the main character, Blessing, is skillfully handled. The initial apprehension she experiences at her life's change gives way to acceptance and her embracing the values her grandparents represent. As she gains maturity, she also accepts and understands the choices made by her mother. Ezekiel's frustration at his circumstances and his anger at his situation are presented so that the reader empathizes with him rather than condemning him. One can only weep at the results of his actions, and their impact on the other characters.
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Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away: A Novel
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