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When We Were Birds
When We Were Birds | Ayanna Lloyd Banwo
18 posts | 16 read | 30 to read
A mythic love story set in Trinidad & Tobago, Ayanna Lloyd Banwo's radiant debut introduces two unforgettable outsiders brought together by their connection with the dead. "You were never the smartest child, but even you should know that when a dead woman offers you a cigarette, the polite thing to do would be to take it. Especially when that dead woman is your mother." The St. Bernard women have lived in Morne Marie, the house on top of a hill outside Port Angeles, for generations. Built from the ashes of a plantation that enslaved their ancestors, it has come to shelter a lineage that is bonded by much more than blood. One woman in each generation of St. Bernards is responsible for the passage of the city's souls into the afterlife. But Yejide's relationship with her mother, Petronella, has always been contorted by anger and neglect, which Petronella stubbornly carries to her death bed, leaving Yejide unprepared to fulfill her destiny. Raised in the countryside by a devout Rastafarian mother, Darwin has always abided by the religious commandment not to interact with death. He has never been to a funeral, much less seen a dead body. But when his ailing mother can no longer work and the only job he can find is gravedigging, he must betray the life she built for him in order to provide for them both. Newly shorn of his dreadlocks and his past, and determined to prove himself, Darwin finds himself adrift in a city electric with possibility and danger. Yejide and Darwin will meet inside the gates of Fidelis, Port Angeles' largest and oldest cemetery, where the dead lie uneasy in their graves and a reckoning with fate beckons them both. A masterwork of lush imagination and immersive lyricism, shot through with the rhythm of the island, When We Were Birds is a spellbinding novel about inheritance, loss and love's seismic power to heal.
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Shievad
When We Were Birds | Ayanna Lloyd Banwo
Panpan

OMG molasses moves faster than this plot. I was ready to give up on it but was told I was at a point where the plot picks up. It did not. If you decide to read it, definitely listen to the audiobook. 2 narrators alternate reading for the main characters and they read in Caribbean accents which is helpful since the book is written in Caribbean English.

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thereflectiveflaneur
When We Were Birds | Ayanna Lloyd Banwo
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Pickpick

Perfect combination of magic realism and gritty reality. Two seperate stories intertwine in this glorious debut novel. Beautiful prose with distinct voices and perspectives for the two main characters. Transports you to Trinidad and Tobago!

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Centique
When We Were Birds | Ayanna Lloyd Banwo
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Pickpick

Thoroughly enjoyed this - my first ever novel from Trinidad and Tobago. We follow Yejide, a young woman bound to her ancestral home by family ties despite dysfunction, and Darwin, a young Rasta man, pushed into breaking his vows, leaving his mother and moving into the city for work. As their stories circle each other, supernatural forces are at work. @Reggie this reminded me a little bit of Mama Day 😍. This would make a good spooky read for ⬇️

Centique …October. Also note this is written in dialect, if that feels strange please give it a few pages to find your rhythm with it. 5mo
Reggie This does sound sound like my jam. Stacked. 5mo
84 likes3 stack adds2 comments
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Chrissyreadit
When We Were Birds | Ayanna Lloyd Banwo
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@Gissy thank you for such a fun birthday package! You‘re right- it is fun to have birthday celebrations that last! I LOVE everything but am so glad you sent a fun booksleeve! I love it! And I‘ve wanted a pen pouch for myself- I keep losing my LMPBC pens. Perfect book choices too!!! 😘😘😘😘

Gissy I‘m so glad you liked them. I‘m so grateful we have maintain this friendship from the distance🤗I bet you need a mini vacation to rest from your vacation time☺️Those photos were beautiful. I loved the one you were dressed up like that time, it was like living in that era😍So lovely! 5mo
Chrissyreadit @Gissy I‘m grateful for our friendship too! ❤️ The Jane Austen weekend was so much fun! It also went by very quickly. I highly recommend it just for the slow pace and interesting activities. It is best to go into it not knowing what to expect. 5mo
Gissy Yes, and maybe visit the place with someone who will love to the experience. If I take my family or close friends to a place like that they are going to kill me😳they don‘t read and definitely not Jane Austen fan☺️I don‘t think my book club friends are Jane Austen fan. some day I will go not matter if I have to go alone. So many beautiful places related with books-to visit🤗 I watched Miranda Mill video she visited in London beautiful places 5mo
60 likes3 comments
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Sydneypaige
When We Were Birds | Ayanna Lloyd Banwo
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Pickpick

First author I‘ve ever read from Trinidad & Tobago! The story is set in the country and is a love story with plenty of mythos involved too. Also the cover is absolutely gorgeous. There is nothing particularly angsty or lustful in this love story. It‘s a curiosity, a being drawn to one another, an entwining of lives. Devoid of the western tropes that are often in romance reads. Felt refreshing and delightful. Also family stories are very present.

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KristiAhlers
When We Were Birds | Ayanna Lloyd Banwo
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Pickpick

I without a doubt 100% recommend this book. It‘s a love story it‘s a belief and how circumstances sometimes highlight challenges. I don‘t want to give too much away but this was a beautifully written story set in Trinidad populated by amazing characters. #travelthroughbooks #trinidad #bigjunereadathon @Clwojick

Jgacreations I started reading this and liked the story but just couldn‘t get into it. I‘ll have to revisit it. Ty! 8mo
KristiAhlers @Jgacreations I could totally see how you‘d have to be in the right mindset for it. 8mo
46 likes1 stack add2 comments
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AmandaBlaze
When We Were Birds | Ayanna Lloyd Banwo
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My #MarvellousMay #Readathon update. It seems when I don‘t make goals, I accomplish more. lol
@Andrew65

Andrew65 Sometimes i do the same. 😊 9mo
20 likes1 comment
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Floresj
When We Were Birds | Ayanna Lloyd Banwo
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Pickpick

‘m not usually into magical realism, but this book was just the right amount of realism, good character development, good pacing of plot, and sprinkles of magical elements to keep me interested. It‘s not perfect, but it‘s entertaining.

16 likes1 stack add
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AmandaBlaze
When We Were Birds | Ayanna Lloyd Banwo
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Pickpick

I really liked this novel. It's told from the point of view of Yejide and Darwin. Both of them deal with conflicts within their family. It's a story of loneliness and love with a ghost story and magic realism as well. The rhythm of the prose took a little getting used, but by the end it was flowing along.
#WyrdAndWonder @imyril

imyril Oooh this sounds really intriguing 9mo
28 likes3 stack adds1 comment
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AmandaBlaze
When We Were Birds | Ayanna Lloyd Banwo
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1. When We Were Birds and My Swordhand is Singing
2. Walden by Thoreau
3. When We Were Birds
#WeekendReads @rachelsbrittain

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AmandaBlaze
When We Were Birds | Ayanna Lloyd Banwo
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“'First thing you have to remember,' Granny Catherine hold her granddaughter, Yejide, close on her lap, 'is that there was a time before time.'“
A fantasy novel set in Trinidad.
#FirstLlineFridays @ShyBookOwl

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Linsy
When We Were Birds | Ayanna Lloyd Banwo
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Pickpick

This book was just exquisite! 🦜🌻🌿
#fantasticstrangelings

wanderinglynn Love your pineapple mug! 🍍 9mo
PatriciaU One of my favorites of the year so far! 9mo
Linsy @PatriciaU Ditto! It's one of those I'm not sure I would have picked up on my own, so I'm so glad Jenny Lawson picked it for the book club! Did you watch her author event? So good!!! 9mo
PatriciaU @Linsy I did. Very interesting. I‘ve been enjoying the books Jenny selects altho I‘ve been having a hard time getting thru Kaikeyi. 9mo
79 likes1 stack add4 comments
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Bookalong
When We Were Birds | Ayanna Lloyd Banwo
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Pickpick

An epic, alluring, dark and atmospheric tale of love, loss, connection and healing. WHEN WE WERE BIRDS is a gorgeous debut with beautiful prose. Banwo had me hooked within the first few pages and transported into this story which is such a deeply told story. Both of these characters Yejide, and Darwin are old souls carrying heavy burdens, like family traditions and expectations, and complex mother-daughter relationships. I reccomend this one!

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TheKidUpstairs
When We Were Birds | Ayanna Lloyd Banwo
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Taking a short break from the epic Ship of Magic for this one on OverDrive. Even in Black and White the cover is stunning.

62 likes1 stack add
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amma-keep-reading
When We Were Birds | Ayanna Lloyd Banwo
Pickpick

Such a vivid story!

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Avanders
When We Were Birds | Ayanna Lloyd Banwo
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Received this gorgeous #FantasticStrangelings book, set in Trinidad, which is where my mom was from - so excited to read this! ♥️

Also picked up this cozy to pass some time 🔪📚☕️

And look at that gorgeous weather for my day off tomorrow! #pluviophile

And buggy has recently gotten obsessed w those Moomin books… extra cute bc we have a lot of the older-reader books from when Mark was a kid. 🥰🥰

BethM Yay for weather! We got 60 today! With snow coming Wednesday 😂 I‘ve never heard of Moomin. 11mo
Avanders @BethM ha we had the same thing — snow last night and this morning! But then some rain too so it‘s basically all gone already 😜 Moomin is so cute! I‘d never heard of it either, but apparently Mark‘s dad found the older kid version when Mark was younger… he had a lot of overseas contacts and seemed to hear of new, fun things that way ☺️ The picture books are so cute. 11mo
61 likes1 stack add2 comments
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PatriciaU
When We Were Birds | Ayanna Lloyd Banwo
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What do you do on a rainy Sunday when you‘re nursing a cold? Settle into the newest selection for Jenny Lawson‘s Strangelings Book Club!

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underground_bks
When We Were Birds | Ayanna Lloyd Banwo
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Pickpick

The destinies of a Rastafarian man prohibited from interacting with the dead and a woman destined to care for their spirits collide in a cemetery full of secrets in this magical realist novel set in a Trinidad “with the volume turned all the way up.” I had a tough time getting into this, but that may be holiday distractions. I enjoyed the settings and magical realism throughout the novel. I‘d especially recommend for fans of Practical Magic.