The story begins in 1973 as young mother Eleanor is taking her baby Amy away from the family home on a road trip to “the mountain”, a favourite place she had often visited as a child with her father. The author tells the story of Eleanor and her mother Kitty in flashbacks to the 1940s (Kitty’s marriage to George and the birth of Eleanor); and to the 1960s (Eleanor’s marriage to Leon and the birth of her daughter Amy.
Graphic descriptions of domestic violence and grief make this a confronting book to read. However, it is a very moving story in which both Eleanor and Kitty are portrayed so realistically, that the reader experiences not only their trauma, but moments of joy and peace. The Irish Times: “Sarah Schmidt’s prose is elegant and finely crafted, and her plot’s twists and turns delve into war, violence and the randomness of life.” Books and Publishing: “superb characterisation and heart-rending plot”
“Did you know the sky is blue but once, a long time ago, humans didn’t have a word for such a colour? Blue isn’t as common in nature as you would think… Amy, wouldn’t it be wonderful to see something that’s rarer than blue?”
“She got the idea to go and look for birds. She got the idea that she would stay out there until the night came, until her mum got worried. That would make Kitty be nice to her.”