Have dreams. Must travel. The magnetic words that her lover Joey sticks to a refrigerator door propel Maddie into a journey to recapture her independence and finally free herself from the abusive fanaticism of her past. Profound friendships vie with skewed love and loss to fuel Maddie’s search for redemption in this powerfully-written debut novel. From Vancouver in the 1960s to present day Mexico, and a small island off the Pacific west coast, Nine Birds Singing takes the reader on a compelling odyssey of self-discovery.
Words: their veiled truths, their unexpected revelations, their sly power. The role of words in the lives of the characters in Nine Birds Singing is the thread that connects and carried them to their ultimate destiny: ruination, renewal, and finally acceptance.
Maddie is a writer of local history who wants to use her words to unlock the hidden truths that lay just below the surface of her life. But it’s magnetic words on a refrigerator door – Have dreams. Must travel – that push Maddie into the journey she must take: the search for what she has yearned for all her life: independence and freedom from the abusive fanaticism of her parents’ religious beliefs. The novel weaves through past glories and youthful hubris in a search for understanding and acceptance.
Joey uses words both to define himself and redefine himself, but his words do not always encompass the whole truth.
Thea collects words. She doesn’t ever want to be caught without words and she rarely is. The secret that Thea carries to her ultimate end, leads Maddie finally to her own place of acceptance
Carmelita’s words are spare and carefully chosen. She becomes the container for all the stories, the witness, the listener, until she allows words to finally open her heart again.
Praise for Nine Birds Singing
Patrick Taylor. USA Today, New York Times and Globe and Mail best-selling author of the Irish Country Doctor series.
If, like me, you despair for the collapse of the English language, take comfort. In Nine Birds Singing, you will discover a veritable Aladdin’s Cave of delights. Edythe Anstey Hanen not only uses the basic blocks of language, words, to propel her characters and her story, each word has been selected with meticulous care with attention to its meaning and its ability to resonate. The work is a symphony for the logophile. Don’t miss it.
Nick Bantock, author of The Griffin and Sabine Trilogy
Nine Birds Singing is a finely written book, lovingly crafted, poignant and perceptive. A tale of gradual self-understanding, awakening and ultimate release.
Jack Hodgins, author of Spit Delaney’s Island
In Nine Birds Singing, Edythe Anstey Hanen’s appealing narrator, Maddie, recalls and examines her own search for independence from her parents’ restrictive values. The writer and Maddie, together, gather the reader in to share an intimate, wise, and moving tale.
Bernice Lever, author of Small Acts, Black Moss Press, 2016
Readers will enjoy the unique views and poetic pacing of Nine Birds Singing by Edythe Anstey Hanen. She savors and survives landscapes and relationships in teasing but tasty quick episodes. Her novel takes readers via circular time traveling through decades of Maddie’s life in Canada and Mexico. Enjoy this new voice!
About the AuthorEdythe Anstey Hanen has published prize-winning short stories and poetry in literary magazines including Room Magazine and anthologies across Canada, in addition to articles in the Globe & Mail, National Post and the Hamilton Bay Observer and is a regular contributor to Mexconnect, an online travel magazine. She lives on Bowen Island in British Columbia, Canada, where for many years she was the editor of the Bowen Island Undercurrent.