Review: We Are the Birds of the Coming Storm

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  • Author: Lola Lafon
  • ISBN: 9780857421890
  • Genre: Literary Fiction
  • Publisher: Seagull Books

I purchased this book, but I would like to thank the author for coming to the Central Texas Chapter AATF conference on Oct. 25th to speak with the attendees, and Dr. Moira DiMauro-Jackson for inviting me.  I wouldn’t have discovered Ms. Lafon’s book otherwise.

We Are the Birds of the Coming Storm is the English translation of the book from the original French.  I really wish my French was at a high enough level to read the original because I’m sure, as with all translations, something is always lost.  However, that didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the book in any way.  It’s still a 5 star book, and that is also despite the fact that I prefer Fantasy over any other genre.

My reasons for loving this book are many, but I will stick to my top couple of reasons.  First of all, this being Literary Fiction, it pushed me out of my comfort zone and made me think.  I had to take my time with the story, with several breaks to sort out my feelings and thoughts.  Even though the story takes place in France, it deals with many social and political issues that are relevant to current events in the United States.  It is primarily a Feminist book, but in addition to dealing with issues of rape and mental illness, it also brings up issues of political upheaval, riots, racism, and immigration.  I didn’t necessarily agree with everything, particularly the violent political action, but I was still able to relate to the characters and understand their reasoning.

My second reason for loving the story is that it doesn’t provide any answers.  This isn’t a book of pat solutions to all the social issues.  It’s not preachy or condescending, and it doesn’t contain a single moment of misandry, blaming, or explaining away the issues.  The story simply presents them as they appear in the characters’ lives.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves thought provoking literary fiction, or who is interested in or studying Women’s Studies or Feminism.  However, I do have to provide a trigger warning for victims of sexual assault since many of the narrator’s thoughts, memories, and emotions concerning rape often come up as flashbacks.

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