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Birds Without Wings


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"An absorbing epic . . . It [has] the pleasingly busy feel of a 19th-century classic (it's no surprise that de Bernieres has cited "War and Peace" as a model for his work)."
-"New York Times Book Review"
"A fascinating, evocative work written on a grand scale not much seen today . . . In his compassionate portrayal of simple people struggling against sweeping historical forces and his vivid descriptions of the cruelties of war, de Bernieres has reached heights that few modern novelists ever attempt."
-Nicholas Gage, "Washington Post Book World"
" 'Birds Without Wings' is one of the most engrossing novels I've read all year . . . A lively and enlivening history and character study and geography and theological accounting all in one . . . The book's title comes from [the] gnomic statement 'Man is a bird without wings. A bird is a man without sorrows.' Sadly, as we read, we learn once again that our species can't fly. But a novel can soar."
-Alan Cheuse, "Chicago Tribune"
" 'Birds Without Wings' remains a quite astonishing, and compulsively readable, tour de force. De Bernieres has caught to perfection the slow-paced, richly descriptive, discursive, proverb-laden narrative style characteristic of Balkan and Anatolian storytellers. His subtly differentiated characters attach themselves to us and won't let go: We come to care about them, and their deaths diminish us . . . [This] novel tells us more about our flawed human condition than is comfortable to know, and that is its greatest strength."
-Peter Green, "Los Angeles Times"
"A deeply rewarding work about the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire . . . So much is remarkable about this novel, from the heft of itshistory to the power of its legends . . . This epic about the tragedy of borders is likely to cross all borders, moving readers everywhere as it describes the harrowing cost of remaking faraway places in the image of our dreams."
-"Christian Science Monitor
"Humorous, horrific, and luminously moving . . . De Bernieres' canvas is wide, as he sketches political movements and takes religion and nationalism to task, but his characters' stories are intimate, creating a wonderfully rich and timely epic."
-"Booklist" (starred review)
"A long, interesting and sometimes challenging book . . . De Bernieres writes dense, fine-grained prose that moves with the measured grace of a 19th century novel."
-"San Francisco Chronicle"
"Enormously readable, intermittently brilliant, honorably conceived and felt."
"An absorbing read about a captivating time . . . a rich, poignant story."
-"The Economist"
"Louis de Bernieres is in the direct line that runs through Dickens and Evelyn Waugh. . .he has only to look into his world, one senses, for it to rush into reality, colours and touch and taste."
-A. S. Byatt

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