A novel of magic, birds, lost letters and love.
Sydney, 1929: three people find themselves washed up on the steps of Miss Du Maurier's bohemian boarding house in a once grand terrace in Newtown. Ari is a young Jewish man, a pogrom orphan, who lives under the stern rule of his rabbi uncle, but dreams his father is Houdini. Upon his hand he bears a forbidden mark - a tattoo - and has a secret ambition to be a magician. Finding an injured parrot one day on the street, Ari is unsure of how to care for it, until he meets young runaway Lily, a glimmering girl after his own abracadabra heart. Together they form a magical act, but their lives take a strange twist when wild card Billy, a charming and dangerous drifter twisted by the war, can no longer harbour secret desires of his own.
The Bird's Child is a feat of sleight-of-hand. Birds speak, keys appear from nowhere, boxes spill secrets and the dead talk. this is a magical, stunningly original, irresistible novel - both an achingly beautiful love story and a slowly unfurling mystery of belonging.
'A wonderful, strange, glittering book, full of astounding imagination, glorious really.' Edward Carey, author of Heap House
'A shimmering dream of haunted pasts. A silver girl. Abandoned boys. All the magic of the stage. The Bird's Child is a delight.' Essie Fox, author of The Somnambulist
The Bird's Child is entirely original, its familiar Sydney settings set asparkle and rendered dreamlike by Sandra Leigh Price's lyrical and lovely writing. This is a magical fable that penetrates to deep emotional truths.' Geraldine Brooks
'This debut novel brings 1920s Sydney to life through a fairytale lens, highlighting the city's romance, its magic and its mystery ... It is the Australian setting that sets this quirky historical romance apart from others of its genre. Price's dream-like portrayal of a bygone Sydney - with its vaudeville shows and opium dens, lyrebirds and swagmen - establishes a unique mood that transforms the local into the exotic, making The Bird's Child a memorable tale.' Australian Book Review
'Gritty yet enchanting ... often deliciously sumptuous and erotically charged ... unusual, imaginative' Newtown Review of Books
'Skilfully written and richly imagined' Sydney Morning Herald