‘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.’
Yiannis is a poacher, trapping the tiny protected songbirds that stop in Cyprus as they migrate each year from Africa to Europe, killing them with his bare hands to be sold on the black market. He dreams of finding a new way of life, and of marrying Nisha, who works for Petra and her daughter Angela. Nisha is raising Angela, mothering her own child back in Sri Lanka by the screen of a phone.
When Nisha disappears, Yiannis is convinced he is responsible, paralysed by heartbreak and fear. Petra is forced to care for her child again, and when little Angela insists that they find Nisha, she begins to see that Nisha hasn’t simply run away, and that no one else will bother to look for her.
With infinite tenderness and skill, Christy Lefteri has crafted a powerful story about the unseen who walk among us, cleaning our homes and caring for our children – what it is to migrate in search of freedom, only to find yourself trapped. Songbirds is a triumphant exploration of loss, the strength of the human spirit and the unbreakable bonds of courage, and of love.