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Summary

Her courage to cross oceans.

Her hope for a better life.

Her love for a daughter, above all else.

Not all tragedies make headlines, not every voice is heard.

Nisha has crossed oceans to give her child a future. Now she spends her days caring for someone else's daughter while her own waits for her return, half a world away.

For Petra, it is only natural to hire a domestic worker to keep her house clean and her family fed. Their lives have nothing in common, except the love they feel for their daughters.

Then one day, Nisha vanishes. No one cares about the disappearance of a foreign domestic worker, except Petra and Nisha's secret lover, Yiannis, the only connection to her daughter back in Sri Lanka. 

As Petra and Yiannis desperately search for Nisha, they realise how little they knew about her. What they uncover will change them both forever.

Inspired by true stories of love and loss, hope and refuge, this evocative masterpiece from the million-copy best-selling author of The Beekeeper of Aleppo, Christy Lefteri, is an illuminating story of the power of the human spirit, and the enduring love of a mother for her child, that will stay with you long after you finish listening.

©2021 Christy Lefteri (P)2021 Bonnier Books UK

Critic reviews

"Will break your heart and open your eyes." (Heather Morris, author of The Tattooist of Auschwitz)

"I've never read anything quite like Songbirds—a beautifully crafted novel." (Jodi Picoult, best-selling author of Wish You Were Here

"This thought-provoking novel of love loss and redemption is thoroughly sublime." (Caroline Montague) 

"...broke my heart and kept me turning the pages of her gorgeous novel well into the night." (Alka Joshi, NYT best-selling author of The Henna Artist and The Secret Keeper of Jaipur

"Christy Lefteri has crafted a beautiful novel, intelligent, thoughtful, and relevant." (Benjamin Zephaniah on The Beekeeper of Aleppo

"...it's impossible not to be moved by Lefteri's plea for humanity and perhaps inspired too." (Observer, on The Beekeeper of Aleppo

"Courageous, proactive, haunting." (Heather Morris, on The Beekeeper of Aleppo

What listeners say about Songbirds

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Profoundly moving

I had been looking forward to this book having been deeply moved by The Beekeeper of Aleppo.
I had listened to Beekeeper here on audible too and loved Art Malik’s reading.
Whilst I enjoyed this book too it did not have as profound an effect on me as Beekeeper. I think that is partly because Beekeeper opened my eyes to the plight of real individuals who were refugees in a way I had not experienced . But it is also the narration and editing which I felt was less effective than the first book. The gaps at the end of chapters before Art Malik’s interventions felt discordant.
I would like to read this because I think then I would get more from the book.
The theme is powerful. Having lived in the Middle East I am aware of the plight of so many domestic workers - thank you to Christy Lefteri for drawing attention to this

8 people found this helpful

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Not for me

I could even finish it. Very boring. Although I enjoyed the next book. Sorry but nothing good to say about this one.

6 people found this helpful

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A beautiful and tragic story


Loved this book. I recommend it highly. This book is about the invisible women we take for granted, the ones who are poor and immigrant. There’s a hierarchy of women: the ones who have the power to purchase labour and the ones without. The ones who leave their families behind to raise another woman’s child because of the imperative of economics, and the inequality of wealth. The story was well written and poetic. It showed humans as predatory both in the human and animal word. We hunt humans as much as we hunt animals. This is a book that shed light on the story of those often forgotten and treated like a scourge on society. A must read.

5 people found this helpful

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Wonderful story

How I have loved this amazing book narrated with such feeling. it took me into a world I had known deep down existed but one that I had ignored as too uncomfortable to dwell in. I have smiled and laughed and wept. The author's acute observation and empathy shone through. A truly wonderful novel

4 people found this helpful

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Songbirds

Although the start is quite slow moving, I advise you to complete this lovely book. The language is beautiful, poignant and stirs vivid images and wonderful emotions. It is sensitively written and really makes you think. I don’t usually listen to audiobooks, however the intensity of the story is really heightened because you have to really concentrate and hone your listening skills, which conjures up much more imaginative thinking and imagery.

3 people found this helpful

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Wonderful book

Absolutely wonderful book - brilliantly narrated - beautifully written!!!! Best book I’ve read since The Beekeeper of Aleppo. Let’s hope there is another book coming.

3 people found this helpful

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songbirds

lovely, gentle understanding of feelings.
wished for a happy ending, but understand why it needed to be .
Thankyou all

2 people found this helpful

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Poor ending and

The ending really let this book down. When the narrator begins to speak there is a big pause in the audio each time - you would think that there is a buffering issue. After the bird song begins the start of what he said was cut off almost every time. That really needs to be addressed.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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A little underwhelming

Having found 'The beekeeper of Aleppo' to be excellent I was really keen to read another book by the same author and this was the choice. It almost doesn't feel right to be critical, given that it's the same writer that I'd liked so much previously, but I found this a little disappointing.

This book has a 'point' yes, and I really like that in a story, but I just didn't feel as affected by it as I imagine I was meant to be.

It's not really a spoiler to reveal that the story centres around a missing immigrant maid but I really wanted to hear more of her viewpoint or if not then at least to be more moved by the emotions of those close to her as they tried to piece together what happened.

By the end I felt like I was missing a chunk of the emotion I was meant to experience and ultimately I felt, as I say, a little underwhelmed.

1 person found this helpful

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Great message, lazy plot.

The performances were great, they encouraged me to invest my time in listening for the 11 and a bit hours.
The plot was fun to follow until the final few chapters where it came to an end, abruptly and was honestly very disappointing. Oh well🤙🏻

1 person found this helpful