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Elise loves the farm that is her home she loves playing with beetles and chameleons in the garden, buying sweets from the village shop and listening to the stories of spirits and charms told by her nanny, Beauty As a young white girl in 1990s Zimbabwe, her life is idyllic Her clothes are always clean and ironed, there is always tea in the silver teapot, gin and tonics are served on the veranda, and, in theory at least, black and white live in harmony.However this dream world of her childhood cannot last As Elise gets older, her eyes are opened to the complexities of adult existence, both through the changes wrought in her family by the arrival of her step father Steve, and through her growing understanding of the tensions in Zimbabwean society As Mugabe s presidency turns sour, the privileged world of the white farmers begins to crumble into anarchy The Cry of the Go Away Bird follows Elise as she attempts to make sense of her place in the world while her family struggle to stay afloat in the collapsing economy and escalating horror that surrounds them As the violence intensifies and the farm invasions begin, Elise and her family are forced to confront difficult choices and the ancient unforgiving ghosts of the past. Certainly not what I was expecting and I couldn t connect to it. Many books have been written about this period in Zimbabwe On the cover of one was a comment along the lines of Do we really need another book about Zimbabwe and it went on to suggest that, in providing a fresh look at what had gone on, the book in question proved a worthy read This novel by Andrea Eames does the same There is a stark frankness at a basic, earthy level Dialogue rings true The senses reflect so accurately the land, the scenery, the weather, nuances of behavior The story could be that of countless people of the time and place The relationships social, domestic, racial, much as they were A fascinating aspect is the interweaving of African superstition and beliefs, which consolidates the story The accounts of land grabbing by War Vets could not be authentic I suspect the book relates closely to the author s personal life but one can only surmise In this book, white Zimbabwean farmers are portrayed as glaringly gauche this is unsurprising considering the circumstances of the time, and since it it written as through the eyes of a young person For readers who may be unfamiliar with the people, I feel it is worth a note to elaborate In a sense, one often encounters a certain naivety in this community, but it underlies a depth of wisdom, integrity, love of the land and great skill and sophistication in their husbandry of it Later I asked a Zimbabwean friend how she would describe the farmers These are her words On the whole, easy to make friends with, kind, live and let live types Open hearted, open handed, very entertaining Hard working with joy in their hearts Highly intelligent Very honest in most cases I have banged on about this but felt it important to try and show another side of the people who loved the country dearly and, for the most, paid dearly. It had been a little while okay, a couple weeks since I d had a page turner and I found it in Andrea Eames book I d first heard about it when I attended a panel she was on, at AWP about publishing global fiction I was interested in the things she said and in what I d heard about her book, so I bought it online it hasn t been published in the States, btw, but everything s available on it seems.I knew only a little about Zimbabwe and Mugabe before I read this book, but I think this story gave me a human perspective It s one sided, of course, since it s a white perspective, but I found it extremely compelling to hear this story from a teenage girl I think choosing that character as a narrator was a good choice There are occasionally paragraphs that sounds expository, like they d come from a social studies or history book, but they were short and, since I m so ignorant, I appreciated a bit of background Some of the metaphors were a little obvious but they also had ominous weight And there were quite a few lines that I highlighted to be honest, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the writing, since I ve also read some less than favorable comments about her as a writer.All in all, I enjoyed it and would recommend it, especially to anyone who s interested in the general subject matter of the book It made me think a lot about black white race relations all over the world while I was reading, I kept thinking about Kathryn Stockett s The Help and J M Coetzee s Disgrace. The Cry of the Go Away Bird is a powerful coming of age novel that deserves a huge audience this is a story that should be read Like many coming of age novels, Eames has managed to create a character neither that likeable nor aspirational, but defiantly relatable.This book explores so many different themes, but all so simply and evocatively it s hard as a reviewer to express my admiration enough This book is incredibly important as it expresses the horror and fear of people hated because of their race in a clear and accessible way Excerpt from full review of The Cry of the Go Away Bird at For Books Sake