Sefi Atta Recommends

“I recommend Gayle Brandeis’s The Book of Dead Birds. The novel won Barbara Kingsolver’s Bellwether Prize, an award in support of a literature of social responsibility, and earned praises from Toni Morrison who was one of the judges. This is an evocative and moving story narrated by Ava Sing Lo, the daughter of a Korean mother and African-American serviceman. Ava accidentally kills her mother’s pet birds before she begins to try and save endangered birds along the shores of the Salton Sea. Her story crosses cultures and merges generations. The author’s prose is pristine and I particularly appreciate the way in which she handles every character with dignity. The Book of Dead Birds is such a graceful story, as unusual as its characters.”

Sefi Atta was born in Nigeria, has lived in England and is now based in the United States. She is the author of the novel Everything Good Will Come and has completed her second novel Swallow.