Birds Without Wings tells of the inhabitants of a small coastal town in South West Anatolia in the dying days of the Ottoman empire: the local Potter and fount of proverbial wisdom; a Christian girl of legendary beauty; childhood friends who play in the hills above the town, and the two holy men of different faiths, who greet each other with the words 'infidel efendi'.
©2004 Louis de Bernières (P)2005 W. F. Howes Ltd
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"An awful lot of description"
This is one of those books that I feel I should have enjoyed and that maybe I'm to blame for being bored by it. I listened to hours and hours of detailed descriptions of scenery, clothing and customs. I'm all for creating atmosphere, but as a background to a story and not an end in itself. Far too many characters are introduced with names I can't remember. I kept wondering is anything actually going to happen. The prospect of 28 hours of this was too daunting and I gave up. The book has some of the same ingredients as the excellent Captain Corelli's Mandolin by the same author, but none of the magic and narrative drive.
I found the narration in put-on Turkish/Greek accents got irritating after a while.
I would not recommend this audiobook to a friend. The narrator's 'pretend' voices/accents just grated. Everything sounded the same, and everything sounded dull.
This was my first Louis de Bernieres book, read or listened to. I'd be willing to give another book by the same author a try, because it may well be that it was the narration that was dull, not the prose.
It made me want to fall asleep. I don't know if it was because he was trying to do different voices for different characters, or because he was attempting a Greek/Turkish/Mediterranean accent, but I found listening dull.
I tried over and over to get into it but gave up in the end. I really don't like doing that because usually if one perseveres the book grabs your interest and I don't like wasting a credit on a book I don't finish; I feel I haven't had my money's worth. Maybe this would be a better book if read by a different narrator, or if I read the actual book myself.
"Birds Without Wings"
At 28 hours this unabridged edition is something of a marathon albeit a very enjoyable if disturbing one. I had read both the book and also the book of Captain Corelli's Mandolin, the story to which Birds Without Wings is the prequel, a few years earlier so I was revisiting familiar territory. Birds takes us through the confusing muddle that was the final collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the twentieth century as seen through the eyes of various Greek and Turkish Ottomans. The threads are woven into a story that is both beautiful and horrifying at one and the same time highlighting the barrenness of nationalism, the folly of war, the stupidity of politicians and how, when measured against the vastness and indifference of time, the efforts of humans, those birds without wings, are ridiculous in their insignificance. The section of the book covering The Gallipoli Campaign, written from the Ottoman side, is most poignant at this time one hundred years later. The narrator is excellent and really brings the story to life.
This is a story that needs to be approached with some thought and at a steady pace but it is very rewarding and one that will live with you for quite some time afterwards. Very highly recommended.
amazing narrator fantastic story, depicts exactly the turkish character and the area a great classic, quite the best loved it
"Very easy listening"
One of the best stories I have ever heard. Fantastic!!!!! Very well narrated too. I recommend this story to everyone.
"Great book, less great audiobook"
wonderful story but the occasional historical sections were hard to follow on an audiobook. The narrator's turkish/greek accents were tedious. i was enthralled with the plot, characters and history, but perhaps its better to read the book than listen to it.
"A lovely story that is simply pleasure to the ears"
Louis De Bernieres has always written such eloquent and descriptive books and this is definitely no exception. His prose, writing style and descriptions in addition to the excellent narration could be compared with gently caressing your ears with the finest silk. The story is intertwined with historical references and events, primarily relating to Mustafa Kemal (the first president of Turkey). If you have zero interest in history, perhaps this is not the book for you but De Bernieres does handhold the reader through the events of the time so ends up being both informative and enjoyable.
The narrator does an excellent job with difficult Turkish and Greek accents and makes it easy to differentiate the characters.
The only negative is that the story does get a little repetitive with facts, quotes and character memories being regularly repeated. With the book being so very long, I can understand why the author has done this but personally found it a bit unnecessary.
All in all, definitely an excellent read. If you enjoyed LDB's South American trilogy, this book is a must!
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