Songbirds by Christy Lefteri

Published 2021. 1. First lines. 2. Cover: Allen & Unwin 3. Net [Public Domain] via Pxfuel 4. Woman – Sri Lanka [Public Domain] via Pixabay

Nisha, Sri Lankan migrant and maid to Petra, vanishes from her home in Cyprus. With indifference from police and no clues to follow, Petra looks for answers, and meets many of Nisha’s friends and acquaintances, including Yiannas who intended to marry Nisha. To make money, Yiannas illegally traps and sells songbirds, a practice Nisha had opposed. In her quest, Petra finds out more about Nisha’s circumstances, realizing the hard choices the young woman had to make.

BOOK SNAPS: Both Kirkuswell-crafted novel” and the Newtown Review of Books “beautifully constructed” refer to how well this story has been written, and it is a very engaging story. The search for freedom, both by migrants and songbirds, is entwined throughout. Publishers Weekly noted that it was “heavy-handed in its message” but I didn’t get that impression. The characters are so well-drawn, they carry the message. “Beautiful descriptions of nature” (Publishers Weekly) is absolutely spot-on, as is the depiction of Cyprus as a politically-divided country.

“I thought you were a different person.”


“After the war, I learned a lesson I would never forget: how a person can disappear inside themselves, and that, sometimes, like my father, they are never able to find their way back.”

“As if she couldn’t quite allow herself to enjoy the pleasures of one world without being pulled into the other. Her home was always waiting for her.”

“It began with a crunch of leaves and earth. So early, so cold, the branches shone with ice. I’d returned to collect the songbirds. They are worth more than their weight in gold.

Author: Christy Lefteri

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