Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen

At the primary school that I work at we teach the children to paint pictures with words which is exactly what Rebecca Rasmussen has done in her rather marvellous novel The Bird Sisters.
At is axis is the deeply entwined and linked lives of Milly and Twiss, two sisters whose lives are a testimony to the givingness of love and its ability to take you to those places that could easily be replaced by loves rival: bitterness.
Surrounded by dysfunction and well aware of how their community perceives them; wiry, strong, steadfast, canny, cunning, caustic and humorous to a fault these sisters will leave you with a dusting of magic and an awareness that life's often rocky path can be a testimony to the ability of the human spirit to forgive, to love, to find goodness, to be empathetic and in touch with what really matters without losing hope and with an ability to look at life with a wonderment that belies age and life experiences.
It speaks to Rasmussen's ability that as you read each page you can smell the smells, feel the grass, see the lightning, walk the greens, visualise Daddy's barn workings, understand Mummy's obsession with A Day In the Life of... identify with the remoteness, the isolation, futile dreams, betrayal, the ashes of failure and yet at no time is this book depressing. It is lush and vivid, lifting the spirit and hooking one into a bonding with Milly and Twiss and an understanding of those that surround them with a richness and compassion that leaves you thinking... how amazing!
And did I mention the humour, its there in all its glory.

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