This site uses cookies. Learn more about cookies.

Close cookie details

OverDrive would like to use cookies to store information on your computer to improve your user experience at our Website. One of the cookies we use is critical for certain aspects of the site to operate and has already been set. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but this could affect certain features or services of the site. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, click here to see our Privacy Policy.

If you do not wish to continue, please click here to exit this site.

Hide notification

  Main Nav

Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away

Cover of Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away

Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away

Borrow Borrow Borrow
Winner of the 2011 Costa First Novel Award

When their mother catches their father with another woman, twelve year-old Blessing and her fourteen-year-old brother, Ezikiel, are forced to leave their comfortable home in Lagos for a village in the Niger Delta, to live with their mother's family. Without running water or electricity, Warri is at first a nightmare for Blessing. Her mother is gone all day and works suspiciously late into the night to pay the children's school fees. Her brother, once a promising student, seems to be falling increasingly under the influence of the local group of violent teenage boys calling themselves Freedom Fighters. Her grandfather, a kind if misguided man, is trying on Islam as his new religion of choice, and is even considering the possibility of bringing in a second wife.
But Blessing's grandmother, wise and practical, soon becomes a beloved mentor, teaching Blessing the ways of the midwife in rural Nigeria. Blessing is exposed to the horrors of genital mutilation and the devastation wrought on the environment by British and American oil companies. As Warri comes to feel like home, Blessing becomes increasingly aware of the threats to its safety, both from its unshakable but dangerous traditions and the relentless carelessness of the modern world. Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away is the witty and beautifully written story of one family's attempt to survive a new life they could never have imagined, struggling to find a deeper sense of identity along the way.
Winner of the 2011 Costa First Novel Award

When their mother catches their father with another woman, twelve year-old Blessing and her fourteen-year-old brother, Ezikiel, are forced to leave their comfortable home in Lagos for a village in the Niger Delta, to live with their mother's family. Without running water or electricity, Warri is at first a nightmare for Blessing. Her mother is gone all day and works suspiciously late into the night to pay the children's school fees. Her brother, once a promising student, seems to be falling increasingly under the influence of the local group of violent teenage boys calling themselves Freedom Fighters. Her grandfather, a kind if misguided man, is trying on Islam as his new religion of choice, and is even considering the possibility of bringing in a second wife.
But Blessing's grandmother, wise and practical, soon becomes a beloved mentor, teaching Blessing the ways of the midwife in rural Nigeria. Blessing is exposed to the horrors of genital mutilation and the devastation wrought on the environment by British and American oil companies. As Warri comes to feel like home, Blessing becomes increasingly aware of the threats to its safety, both from its unshakable but dangerous traditions and the relentless carelessness of the modern world. Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away is the witty and beautifully written story of one family's attempt to survive a new life they could never have imagined, struggling to find a deeper sense of identity along the way.
Available formats-
  • Kindle Book
  • OverDrive Read
  • EPUB eBook
Subjects-
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    4.2
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
    UG
  • Reading Level:
    2 - 3

Recommended for you


Excerpts-
  • From the book

    Father was a loud man. I could hear him shouting from the neighbors' apartment, where he argued about football with Dr. Adeshina and drank so much Remy Martin that he could not stand up properly. I could hear him singing when he returned from the Everlasting Open Arms House of Salvation Church, on a bus that had the words UP JESUS DOWN SATAN written on the side. The singing would reach my ears right up on the fourth floor. From my window I watched thebus driver and Pastor King Junior carry Father towards the apartment because he could not stand up at all.
    If Father did stand up, it was worse. He seemed to have no idea how to move around quietly, and when he did try, after Mama said her head was splitting in two, the crashing became louder.
    We were so used to Father's loud voice that it became quieter. Our ears changed and put on a barrier like sunglasses whenever he was at home. So when we left for market early on Saturday morning and knew Father was out working all day on some important account at the office, our ears did not need their sunglasses on. And when Mama realized she had forgotten her purse, and we had to turn back, our ears were working fine. I heard the chatter of the women at market, the traffic and street traders along Allen Avenue, and the humming of the electric gate to let us back into the apartment building. I heard our footsteps on the hallway carpets, and Mama's key in the front lock. I heard the cupboard door open when Ezikiel and I went straight for the biscuits.
    And then I heard the most terrible, loudest noise I had ever heard in my life.
    My switched-on ears hurt. I tried to put the glasses on them, to switch them down, to turn them off. Father must have been home; I could hear him shouting.
    Father was a loud man.
    But it was Mama who was screaming.

Reviews-
  • People Magazine "A sure-footed debut narrated by 12-year-old Blessing, a girl growing up too fast in the troubled Niger Delta."
  • Cleveland Plain Dealer "[An] assured, absorbing first novel...Watson's cleanly told coming-of-age story generates real narrative momentum."
  • Miami Herald "Watson is generous in her assessment of human nature, and her novel surprises even as its sense of danger is never truly at bay...[An] ultimately triumphant book."
  • Publishers Weekly, starred review "[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."
  • Kirkus Reviews "[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."
  • Library Journal "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."
  • Booklist "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."
  • Barnes and Noble Review "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."
  • Giles Foden, author of The Last King of Scotland "An excellent novel. It takes the reader deep into the reality of ordinary life in Nigeria and is also funny, moving and politically alert."
  • Helon Habila, author of Oil on Water, winner of the Commonwealth Prize "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."
  • Chika Unigwe, author of On Black Sisters' Street "Watson has written an immensely absorbing novel. It is both heart wrenching and consoling."
  • Lesley Lokko, author of Sundowners, Saffron Skies, and Bitter Chocolate "Lyrical and beautifully drawn, a poignant coming-of-age tale, set in an Africa few readers will have experienced. A must-read."
Title Information+
  • Publisher
    Other Press
  • Kindle Book
    Release date:
  • OverDrive Read
    Release date:
  • EPUB eBook
    Release date:
Digital Rights Information+
  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

Status bar:

You've reached your checkout limit.

Visit your Bookshelf to manage your titles.

×

You already have this title checked out.

Want to go to your Bookshelf?

×

Recommendation Limit Reached.

You have reached the maximum number of titles you are permitted to recommend at this time.

×

Sign in to recommend this title.

Recommend your library consider adding this title to the Digital Collection.

×
×

Limited availability

Availability can change throughout the month based on the library's budget.

is available for days.

Once playback starts, you have hours to view the title.

×

Permissions

×

There are no copies of this issue left to borrow. Please try to borrow this title again when a new issue is released.

×

×

NOTE: Barnes and Noble® may change this list of devices at any time.

×
Buy it now
and help our library WIN!
Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away
Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away
Christie Watson
Choose a retail partner below to buy this title for yourself.
A portion of this purchase goes to support your library.
Clicking on the 'Buy It Now' link will cause you to leave the library download platform website. The content of the retail website is not controlled by the library. Please be aware that the website does not have the same privacy policy as the library or its service providers.
×
×

There are no copies of this issue left to borrow. Please try to borrow this title again when a new issue is released.

×
Barnes & Noble Sign In |   Sign In

You will be prompted to sign into your library account on the next page.

If this is your first time selecting “Send to NOOK,” you will then be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

The first time you select “Send to NOOK,” you will be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

You can read periodicals on any NOOK tablet or in the free NOOK reading app for iOS, Android or Windows 8.

Accept to ContinueCancel