Birds Without Wings by Louis de Berniéres

About the book

Set against the backdrop of the collapsing Ottoman Empire, the Gallipoli campaign and the subsequent bitter struggle between Greeks and Turks, Birds Without Wings traces the fortunes of one small community in south-west Anatolia – a town in which Christian and Muslim lives and traditions have co-existed peacefully for centuries. When war is declared and the outside world intrudes, the twin scourges of religion and nationalism lead to forced marches and massacres, and the peaceful fabric of life is destroyed. Birds Without Wings is a novel about the personal and political costs of war, and about love: between men and women; between friends; between those who are driven to be enemies; and between Philothei, a Christian girl of legendary beauty, and Ibrahim the Goatherd, who has courted her since infancy. Epic in sweep, intoxicating in its sensual detail, it is an enchanting masterpiece.

Reviewed by Everton Reading Group:

Provoked deep discussion with much appreciation for the use of the language. With diverse characters it could have been complicated to follow, but the story was gripping. The quality of description brought it to life to the extent smells and sights became real. Much enjoyed by the majority.

Star rating: ****

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2 thoughts on “Birds Without Wings by Louis de Berniéres”

  1. Review by King’s Somborne Reading Group:
    Multi-faceted and humanitarian. A rich and colourful tapestry of characters and situations. Epic story about a community destroyed by war and politics. Most of the group really enjoyed it but some felt it was confusing and a list of characters and a good map would have helped.
    Rating: 4 Stars

  2. Review by Goodworth ClatfordReading Group:
    Well written and researched. Another view of Gallipoli. Too long. Good characterisation. A good picture of the futility of war.
    Star rating: ***

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