A cast of wildly different characters, united by a love of birds, come together on the coast of Australia in 1914. Their avian idyll is soon disturbed as war rips through Europe, irrevocably changing and challenging their lives.
For three very different people brought together by their love for birds, life on the Queensland coast in 1914 is the timeless and idyllic world of sandpipers, ibises and kingfishers. In another hemisphere civilization rushes headlong into a brutal conflict. Life there is lived from moment to moment. Inevitably, the two young men -sanctuary owner and employee - are drawn to the war, and into the mud and horror of the trenches of Armentieres. Alone on the beach, their friend Imogen, the middle-aged wildlife photographer, must acknowledge for all three of them that the past cannot be held.
“Malouf is subtle, lyric and insistent. His stories enter the memory and stay there.”
“Simply brilliant and naturalistically told”
“The continuities of nature are set against the obscenities of war...to contruct a memorable book”
“The novel of a poet without a single trace of overwriting”