“The dead done dead already and the living following them soon enough.”
—————————Look at me knocking off books from two new countries in one week! Trinidad ✅
When We Were Birds is a novel about grief, spirituality and love. Darwin is a young man who needs to make a life for himself and take care of his mother. He is placed in a grave digger job and is exposed to all manner of new experiences that open his eyes to the spiritual world, the good and bad of humanity and help him find himself. Yejide is a young woman living in the nicer part of town, she has a complicated family history – when her mother passes she inherits a legacy she didn’t know existed. One that means she can see and speak with the dead.
These two cross paths in a very supernatural way and realize they are destined to be in one another’s lives. We see a little of the world of star-crossed lovers, both fighting the roles and responsibilities placed upon them. I was appreciative of learning different aspects of the culture, Yejide has one view of the world and Darwin was born a Rastafarian. Those experiences are so different from both my own and from one another. Generally, I don’t enjoy a “love at first sight” type story but in this case I appreciated that there was a destiny aspect to it.
The book’s dialogue does use the dialect of the island which is a little jolting at first but it’s easy to settle into. The writing about the island and the spirits is so beautiful and immersive, it was one of those worlds I was sad to leave. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Thanks to Doubleday and Netgalley for advanced access to this novel. All opinions above are my own.
What are you reading today?