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Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away (Anglais) Broché – 10 mai 2011


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Extrait

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 the
bus 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.
 

Revue de presse

Selected as one of CNN.com’s 12 Good Summer Reads  

“A sure-footed debut narrated by 12-year-old Blessing, a girl growing up too fast in the troubled Niger Delta.” —People Magazine

“[An] assured, absorbing first novel…Watson’s cleanly told coming-of-age story generates real narrative momentum.” —Cleveland Plain Dealer

“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.”—Miami Herald

“[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

“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

“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 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, author of The Last King of Scotland
 
“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, author of Oil on Water, winner of the Commonwealth Prize
 
“Watson has written an immensely absorbing novel. It is both heart wrenching and consoling.” —Chika Unigwe, author of On Black Sisters’ Street
 
“A fascinating, poignant story that had me laughing in places and deeply moved in others.” —Ike Anya
 
“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



Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 448 pages
  • Editeur : Other Press (10 mai 2011)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 1590514661
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590514665
  • Dimensions du produit: 14 x 3,3 x 20,9 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 491.236 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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Par Kate Chi sur 19 février 2014
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Tiny Sunbirds Far Away is a sweet story about a young Nigerian girl whose life is turned on its head when her father runs off with another woman and the family are forced back to the rural village where the mother is from. Young Blessing goes from a comfie air-conditioned home and a good school to dust, dirt and danger.

I found the window into the Lagos underbelly interesting but somehow the story didn't quite feel authentic, and the author's white face and blonde hair kept popping into my head.
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Par Karelle sur 27 décembre 2013
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Une belle histoire de femmes, universel, touchant et profond! Un vrai plaisir, riches en émotions et couleurs! Je le recommande vivement.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 62 commentaires
24 internautes sur 27 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Beautiful Story 10 mai 2011
Par Michelle C - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle
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.
15 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Sunbirds(3.5/5) 24 août 2011
Par TrishNYC - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
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. I felt terrible for the poor treatment she received from her mother and it reminded me of seeing some of my friends' parents who treated their male and female children differently. Once Blessing and her family leave their home in Lagos, Timi treats her so differently, almost like she blamed her for their plight, while treating Ezikiel like royalty. That bothered me immensely and made me never warm to Timi for the rest of the story. Nothing Blessing did was right, nothing she did was okay, only Ezikiel received her unconditional love. I felt bad for her husband's mistreatment of her but the person she becomes afterwards left a bad taste in my mouth.

Another problem I had with this book was that Blessing was twelve years old but sometimes she sounded like she was six. I think the author in an attempt to portray a young voice, went too young. Lagos is a very socially and technologically advanced city. A child who grew up there would not be as naive as Blessing was sometimes portrayed. There is a scene where Blessing goes to visit her mother's boyfriend and sees a mounted flat screen TV and she is fascinated by it and wonders how it is on the wall. It was just too implausible to believe. If Blessing had lived in one of Lagos's many ghettos, I might be more inclined to believe her awe but she is the child of middle class parents who went to a very good school. Incidents like this were hard to believe. Also in an effort to make Blessing sound poetic, she sometimes comes across as unrealistic. When her brother is shot and she sees a friend dragging him home, she says, "I saw Ezikiel wearing a wearing a red hibiscus on his shoulder." Really?

All the men in this book but one or two don't fair very well. They are controlling, abusive, patriarchal and leave much to be desired. I felt like there could have been a much more balanced portrayal in that regard but oh well.

But Blessing and her grandmother saved this book for me. They presented another alternative on how to deal with pain and hardship. Their spirits remained unbroken by life and I admired both immensely. I loved Blessing's grandmother because she was the only anchor for a lost child when everyone else had let her down.

The end of the book was sweet and helped soften my feelings toward this book. Not a bad book but if your want an excellent book on Nigeria, I would go with Lola Shoneyin's The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives.
7 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Change is Coming 21 juin 2011
Par Beverly Jackson - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
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. Through Nana, we learn the world of midwifery, and the respect midwives are accorded, and how Nana uses her occupation as a catalyst for change while maintaining the vow of a traditionalist.

The strength of the book is the depiction of the varied female characters as they dominate the storyline despite being marginalized by their culture and situations. The author shows them as the backbone of the Nigerian culture and writes them with much dignity and strength as should be accorded for the risks they take, and the connections they forge to provide humanness in troubled times. One of my favorite quotes of the book, which illustrates the bonds between the women occurs at the beginning of the book when Blessing asks her mother why she choose for them to go to her parents house when they have never visited each other, and the mother answers, "No mother and daughter live apart, no matter how big the distance between them."

I had the opposite reaction regarding the majority of the male characters in the book, especially the African males. As an African-American female, I am very conscious on how males of color are portrayed in the media and books, and in Tiny Sunbirds Far Away, I was disappointed the African male characters leaned towards caricature of negative stereotypes. Not that the behavior portrayed in the book does not exist, but I struggled to find a positive portrayal, and did not find one until the end of the book. I needed at least one of them either the grandfather, the father, Ezikiel or Youseff to be portrayed in a positive light to offset "the white knight in shining armor" character of Dan. Aside from that point, this is a well-crafted debut novel which will introduce many readers to the Delta and their current conditions, lingering in readers memories long after the last page is read.

Tiny Sunbirds Far Away is a wonderful addition to the literature of coming-of-age stories, and I look forward to reading the future works by Christine Watson. I recommend this book to readers who enjoying coming-of-age stories with a multicultural theme.

Reviewed by Beverly
APOOO Literary Book Review
6 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Coming of Age in Turbulent Times... 28 mai 2011
Par delicateflower152 - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
"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.

Throughout this fine novel, Christie Watson presents the reader with strong, interesting characters. Blessing's childhood companion Boneboy, her grandparents, and her grandfather's second wife are all fleshed out so that the reader "knows" them. The resilience and ingenuity demonstrated by these characters has one cheering them on, hoping for their success. Descriptions of events, political conflicts, and personal issues, as well as descriptions of the locales in which the novel is set, are realistic and believable.

"Tiny Sunbirds Far Away" by Christie Watson is one of the best novels I have recently read. It captured my attention from its first sentence and maintained my interest as I read it straight through and in one sitting. If you are looking for an outstanding read which addresses a girl's coming of age and triumphing under difficult circumstances, you should definitely consider this book. I will be looking forward to more of Christie Watson's writing.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A Culturally Ignorant and Slow Novel 3 août 2014
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
The book opens with a dedication by the author to a family who "helped her to fall in love with Nigeria." That seemed odd to me, and then it hit me that this book was not written by a Nigerian. Okay, fine. You don't have to be part of the culture to write about it. But what if this "love" for the culture is so new that not enough is even known about it to write an essay, let alone a novel? Here we go..
Now, forgive me for pointing this out, but it is a huge part of why I say the novel is "culturally ignorant," therefore I must mention this, and in all brutal honesty. The author Christie Watson is white and has no idea about Africans, their culture, or their physical make up. Numerous times throughout the book she mentions how a Black character gripped an object so hard their knuckles turned white. What?! Now, mind you, I am a brown skinned Black woman of Nigerian and other West African heritage. I even looked down at my own hand while I squeezed it tightly. Nope. My knuckles don't turn white at all. White people's knuckles do, but not Black people's. We stay brown. How did she miss this? HOW can Watson claim to be in love the culture and NOT know about the PEOPLE of the culture?
Also, she kept referring to hair that can be "taken off" as a "weave." That is not a weave. That is a wig. Wigs can be taken off. Weaves are tracks of hair sew onto cornrow braids that are attached to the scalp. That is Black hair 101. That is African, West African, Caribbean, and African American common knowledge, especially if you are a woman. And why is there hardly any mention of hair braiding sessions, a large part of African life? Meh. These things just stuck out for me and ruined the book in addition to the poor writing style and lack of character development and information about Nigeria in general.
And speaking of characters, is Blessing challenged? She seemed developmentally slow, especially for a 12 year old growing up in a large city such as Lagos. As another reviewer posted, she seemed like she was at off 6 years old at times. And she remained this way even after her father cheated on her mother, her brother got shot, and she delivered countless babies by sticking her hands in women's birth canals and pulling them out. How. Does. She. Remain. So. Dense? That was so unrealistic. I felt as if I were reading Dora the Black Explorer for a second. "Can YOU tell me why my father left my mommy?.....Good!"
Also, the Black men are the stereotypical angry Black men (way to go, Watson), the mother is sexually devious and abandons her daughter and son for a man who pays her (way to go again, Watson), the grandmother is the "magical Black person" in the novel (major side eye to that), and then there is a trademark Knight in Shining White Skin (reeeeeally?) who comes to save the day.
And the story is slow. And it doesn't mention much about Africa compared to other novels based in Africa.
I just can't with this book. Please look for other books based in Africa that are actually eye opening and not quickly put together by someone who recently learned Africa is not a country. Sheesh.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a good start.
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