Published: July 8th, 2021
Publisher: Manilla Press
Genre: Literary Fiction
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this beautifully told story. Thank you to Tracy at Compulsive Readers Tours for the invitation to take part and Manilla Press for the gifted ARC.
She walks unseen through our world.
Cares for our children, cleans our homes.
She has a story to tell.
Will you listen?
Nisha has crossed oceans to give her child a future. By day she cares for Petra’s daughter; at night she mothers her own little girl by the light of a phone.
Nisha’s lover, Yiannis, is a poacher, hunting the tiny songbirds on their way to Africa each winter. His dreams of a new life, and of marrying Nisha, are shattered when she vanishes.
No one cares about the disappearance of a domestic worker, except Petra and Yiannis. As they set out to search for her, they realise how little they know about Nisha. What they uncover will change them all.
‘Isn’t it funny,’ Aliki said, in her most adult voice, ‘that you saw everything but yourself ?’
Songbirds is a beautifully written story that gives a voice to the voiceless. Using her exquisite storytelling, Christy Leferti explores the world of migrant and transient workers, showing why they leave their families, including children, behind and travel thousands of miles to work only to be mistreated and abused. They are also encumbered by huge debts owed to those who facilitate their new jobs. They are unseen and unheard, their own lives and stories of no consequence to anyone but themselves and others like them.
Nisha is a character we only get to know through others, which reinforces the sense of invisibility that surrounds her and women like her. Petra and Yannis are the ones to narrate and reveal her story, and Petra in particular realises that she knows nothing about Nisha, despite the fact this woman has lived in her home for nine years and cares for her daughter. She also shines a light on the institutionalised racism towards these workers that runs so deep that authorities won’t search for them if they go missing, instead simply assuming they have moved on.
‘What they uncover will change them all.’
There are themes of bondage and captivity woven throughout this story in a variety of ways. As we learn more about the exploitative situations Nisha and other domestic workers often end up in, we see that what they believe to be their escape, is actually a bigger prison than they left behind. Yannis is caught in the web of his black market dealings and unable to escape them, and finally Petra is an emotional captive, frozen stagnant after her husband’s death to the detriment of her relationship with her daughter.
Harrowing, heartbreaking and powerful, this is a story that needed to be told and demands to be read. A story that reminds us you can find beauty and joy in the darkest of places. It will move you, anger you, and hopefully spark a greater understanding and empathy for the people whose stories it tells.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Brought up in London, Christy Lefteri is the child of Cypriot refugees. She is a lecturer in creative writing at Brunel University. The Beekeeper of Aleppo was born out of her time working as a volunteer at a Unicef supported refugee centre in Athens.
BUY THE BOOK:
Please check out the reviews from the other bloggers taking part in the tour.
Thanks for reading Bibliophiles😊 Emma xxx