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Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away by Christie Watson - Excerpt

Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away by Christie Watson - Excerpt

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Published by otherpress
When their mother catches their father with another woman, twelve year-old Blessing and her fourteen-year-old brother, Ezikiel, are forced to leave their comfortable home in Lagos for a village in the Niger Delta, to live with their mother’s family. Without running water or electricity, Warri is at first a nightmare for Blessing. Her mother is gone all day and works suspiciously late into the night to pay the children’s school fees. Her brother, once a promising student, seems to be falling increasingly under the influence of the local group of violent teenage boys calling themselves Freedom Fighters. Her grandfather, a kind if misguided man, is trying on Islam as his new religion of choice, and is even considering the possibility of bringing in a second wife.
But Blessing’s grandmother, wise and practical, soon becomes a beloved mentor, teaching Blessing the ways of the midwife in rural Nigeria. Blessing is exposed to the horrors of genital mutilation and the devastation wrought on the environment by British and American oil companies. As Warri comes to feel like home, Blessing becomes increasingly aware of the threats to its safety, both from its unshakable but dangerous traditions and the relentless carelessness of the modern world. Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away is the witty and beautifully written story of one family’s attempt to survive a new life they could never have imagined, struggling to find a deeper sense of identity along the way.
When their mother catches their father with another woman, twelve year-old Blessing and her fourteen-year-old brother, Ezikiel, are forced to leave their comfortable home in Lagos for a village in the Niger Delta, to live with their mother’s family. Without running water or electricity, Warri is at first a nightmare for Blessing. Her mother is gone all day and works suspiciously late into the night to pay the children’s school fees. Her brother, once a promising student, seems to be falling increasingly under the influence of the local group of violent teenage boys calling themselves Freedom Fighters. Her grandfather, a kind if misguided man, is trying on Islam as his new religion of choice, and is even considering the possibility of bringing in a second wife.
But Blessing’s grandmother, wise and practical, soon becomes a beloved mentor, teaching Blessing the ways of the midwife in rural Nigeria. Blessing is exposed to the horrors of genital mutilation and the devastation wrought on the environment by British and American oil companies. As Warri comes to feel like home, Blessing becomes increasingly aware of the threats to its safety, both from its unshakable but dangerous traditions and the relentless carelessness of the modern world. Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away is the witty and beautifully written story of one family’s attempt to survive a new life they could never have imagined, struggling to find a deeper sense of identity along the way.

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Published by: otherpress on Apr 15, 2011
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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09/29/2013

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Copyright © Christie Watson 2011Production Editor:
Yvonne E. Cárdenas
Text Designer:
Simon M. Sullivan
This book was set in 12.75 pt. Fournier by Alpha Design &Composition of Pittsfield, NH.10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced ortransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical,including photocopying, recording, or by any information storageand retrieval system, without written permission from Other PressLLC, except in the case of brief quotations in reviews for inclusionin a magazine, newspaper, or broadcast. Printed in the United Statesof America on acid-free paper. For information write to Other PressLLC, 2 Park Avenue, 24th Floor, New York, NY 10016. Or visit ourWeb site: www.otherpress.com
Library f Cngress Catalging-in-Publicatin Data
Watson, Christie.Tiny sunbirds, far away / by Christie Watson.p. cm.ISBN 978-1-59051-466-5 — ISBN 978-1-59051-467-2 (e-book)1. Teenage girls—Nigeria—Fiction. 2. Brothers and sisters—Fiction. 3. Life change events—Fiction. 4. Country life—Nigeria—Fiction. 5. Grandparent and child—Nigeria—Fiction.6. Families—Nigeria—Fiction. 7. Niger River Delta Region(Nigeria)—Social conditions—Fiction. 8. Nigeria—Social life andcustoms—Fiction. I. Title.PR6123.A855T56 2011823'.92—dc222010054187
Publiser’s Nte:
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidentseither are the product of the author’s imagination or are usedfictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead,events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
 
1
o n eo n e
Father was a loud man. His voice entered a room before hedid. From my bedroom window I could hear him sitting inthe wide gardens, or walking to the car parking area filledwith Mercedes, or standing by the security guard’s office orthe gate in front.The gate had different signs stuck on it every week:
N hawkershawkers only Permitted if Called by esidentsN arbecues in te ardensN overnigt uests: emember, riends Can ermed bbers 
And once, until Mama saw the sign and had Father re-move it, after he had laughed so loudly that the walls shook:
N exual ctivity r Defecating in te ardens
We lived on Allen Avenue in Ikeja, on the fourth floor of a gated apartment block called Better Life Executive Homes.I loved watching the street from my window, the traderswalking up and down the avenue, with brightly coloredbuckets and baskets and trays balanced on their heads. They

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