I sighed with a smile on my face after reading the last line of this beautiful piece of work. I felt like I had just consumed a hearty, wholesome homemade meal.
Birdseye is a story about the amalgamation of sometimes seemingly unrelated personalities, that fill the pressure cooker we refer to as a family. Anyone who is part of one, knows how complicated and tedious it can be to deal with those odd, not so lovable members of the clan, even at the best of times. When the ten year old twin boys Oliver and Oscar go missing in Birdseye, Máire Fisher explores how the personalities in Orville and Annie’s family deal with their loss, each other and the world around them.
This coming of age story is told through the eyes of the irresistible Amelia Bird, who starts her journey as an innocent six year old helplessly mourning the loss of her twin brothers through her letters to them. These journals highlight her isolation in a tellingly accurate manner, giving voice to just about every emotion and beat on Bird’s timeline from innocent, mourning child to searching adult who eventually finds resolution and peace at the significant age of 16.
At a certain moment in the novel, it felt like the story changed a gear and went from a coming of age narrative with a touch of romance, to a dark detective novel that sometimes caught me off-guard with its gruesome detail and psychotic tendencies. I loved that the darkness wasn’t underplayed. The events around which this narrative is built are indeed very evil and give Bird’s reaction to her own reality even more momentum.
The only thing I truly hated about Birdseye was the detestable matriarch; Bird’s grandmother Ma Bess. She lives on the second floor of Marchbanks, which is home to the entire family and the silent, but very present character in the narrative. From here she rules and harasses everyone and I kept hoping that someone would get rid of her on the next page and awaited the moment with much anticipation.
In spite of the heavy subject matter, Máire Fisher succeeds in telling a tender tale of loss and acceptance, delicately stirring up emotions of every kind. Sadness, laughter hate, contempt and maybe even relief are feelings that come to mind. An absolute must read!