The author of The Beekeeper of Aleppo brings us a beautiful new book. Songbirds, a beautiful novel about the disappearance of a Sri Lankan domestic worker and the vulnerability of such workers.
Inspired by a real-life disappearance of domestic workers in Cyprus.
Nisha is living on the island of Cyprus. A long way from home. While her heart is in Sri Lanka with her daughter, she must stay here as a carer for another woman and her child. She is here for the money.
Yiannis has a crush on Nisha. He is also trapping protected songbirds and selling them on the black market. This is a non-starter for Nisha. He tells her he will stop when he has enough money to marry her and care for her. Nisha is too smart for this and it breaks her heart to see the tiny birds so cruelly captured and killed.
But one night, Nisha makes the family dinner, cleans up and leaves on an errand only to disappear.
The police are not interested in searching for her so her employer, Petra, investigates. She goes to the neighborhood where other workers live and finds a much darker side to these migrant workers lives. Leaving them vulnerable to the most horrible crimes and treatment.
This book made me smarter and broke my heart. Such beautiful stories are often the hardest to read. But they are also the most rewarding.
NetGalley/August 3, 2021, RHPG-Ballentine