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Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away (2011)

por Christie Watson

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3121683,625 (4.11)44
After her parents separate, Blessing's mother moves with her and her brother Ezikiel to live in a village in the Niger Delta, where Blessing gradually adjusts, but Ezikiel soon leads a dangerous life as a boy soldier.
  1. 10
    Snow Flower and the Secret Fan por Lisa See (sboyte)
    sboyte: Both novels are about women in non-Western cultures dealing with difficult situations. Both books serve to immerse the reader in the cultures they are set in.
  2. 00
    Purple Hibiscus por Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (chazzard)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 16 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Blessing is a Nigerian girl living in the Western-styled city of Lagos with her loud & boisterous father, her more reserved mother and little brother. When Blessing's father leaves the family for another wife, those he has left behind are forced to go live with Blessing's maternal grandparents. Out in a rural area, environmentally spoiled by the oil industry, fraught with vicious and deadly gangs of boys, and served by a corrupt police force, the new extended family struggles for food, medicine and their very lives in the face of the Oyinbo (White Man). Told from Blessings point-of-view, modern day Nigeria comes more into focus as tradition wrestles with twenty-first century modernity and "progress". While the portrayal of the present day African country is well executed, there is an emotional distance from the story itself, even given dramatic turns of events. So, well-written and intellectually engaging; but somewhat "surface-level" in the telling.
  Tanya-dogearedcopy | Oct 26, 2023 |
Todo cambió después de que Mama encontrase a Padre con otra mujer. Mama, mi hermano Ezikiel, de catorce años, y yo nos vimos obligados a dejar nuestro piso en Lagos, que tenía un aire acondicionado tan eficaz que a veces nos daba frío, y mudarnos a Warri, el poblado de mi abuelo Alhaji, donde no había electricidad. Alhaji era el cabeza de familia en el recinto y nos convirtió a todos en musulmanes. Pero, en realidad, era Abuela la que mandaba en ese mundo. Alhaji tomó una segunda esposa, Celestine, una “Plañidera Profesional de Ciudad” a la que le encantaba llevar ropa de licra. Abuela, que era partera, tenía mucho que decir al respecto. Pero para entonces yo era su aprendiz, y sabía que había cosas mucho peores que la licra….
  Natt90 | Nov 9, 2022 |
Winner of the 2011 Costa First Novel Award, Christine Watson uses a 12-year old girl to describe a broken family's departure from comfort in Lagos to poverty in the Niger Delta, where work is difficult to find and a man's word is law in the household. Blessing, her brother Ezikiel, and her mother move into her parent's compound, and have difficulty adjusting to rural life, especially where foreign oil companies are raping the resources, bribing governmental officials, and arming local guerillas. Blessing seems most adaptable, learning to become a midwife, like her Grandmother. Her brother, who suffers from allergies and asthma, has a hard time adjusting. Just as things appear to be brightening, big trouble ensues. Interesting extended family dynamics and pictorial of tensions in Nigeria. ( )
  skipstern | Jul 11, 2021 |
A very compulsive read, set in (for me) a totally alien country. As 12 year old Blessing and her asthmatic brother Ezekial are forced to leave the relative luxury of Lagos to live with her mother's family in the Niger Delta, it's a massive culture shock. Blessing narrates her story: the initial shock of fetching water and the state of the toilets; the endemic violence of the area; the oil industry and its problems. And against this the personalities - Grandfather Alhaji (quite a character); Grandma, with whom Blessing forms a bond; Grandfather's larger-than-life young second-wife, Celestine; and Mama, as she starts a new life...

Perhaps Blessing was just a tad unbelievably well-behaved and subservient, never failing to tow the line, obey and get permission.
But overall a good read that gives you an insight into this region of Nigeria. ( )
1 vote starbox | Sep 18, 2014 |
Through the eyes of Blessing, an adolescent girl, we experience the daily lives of Nigerians. Blessing and her slightly older brother Ezikiel return to their mother's home when the mother is abandoned by her unfaithful, violent husband. They move from an apartment complex to a rustic compound where there is no running water, no air conditioning, and barely any furniture. Blessing sleeps on a mattress with her mother, in a room without windows. She learns to fetch water and cook traditional foods. And, when she cannot attend school, her grandmother trains her to be a midwife. Ezikiel, who suffers from asthma, is a dedicated student, determined to be a doctor. At one point, he has to leave school because the family does not have the money for tuition. Without ruining the read, things go from bad to worse for Ezikiel.

Throughout the book, we see how the foreign exploitation of Nigeria' oil resources is destroying the land and its people. Although their grandfather, Alhaji, is an educated engineer, the English company that runs the oil company does not hire locals. The family, therefore, does not have the money needed for basics, nor for education. Without opportunity, the young men of the region are turning to gorilla warfare, but do more harm to their own people than to the oil company or the corrupt government.

In the end, Blessing has to decide if she will stay in her home country or take the opportunity to make a new life elsewhere. This is a heartrending tale, a thoroughly engaging book that creates a truer understanding of the troubles in Nigeria than the information we read in the newspapers. ( )
  bookfest | Sep 5, 2014 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 16 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Absorbing and passionate.
adicionada por chazzard | editarThe Guardian, Jane Housham (Dec 6, 2011)
 
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For the Egberongbes, who had me fall in love with Nigeria.
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Father was a loud man.
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After her parents separate, Blessing's mother moves with her and her brother Ezikiel to live in a village in the Niger Delta, where Blessing gradually adjusts, but Ezikiel soon leads a dangerous life as a boy soldier.

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