Arts + Culture » Literary

In The Land of Birdfishes

By Rebecca Silver Slayter (HarperCollins)

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In The Land of Birdfishes is an unexpected and intricate debut novel by Nova Scotian writer Rebecca Silver Slayter. Although the story begins with two sisters who are blindfolded by their father after their mother’s suicide, it quickly transitions to decades later. Aileen, who is partially blind, travels to Dawson City, Yukon, where her fully blind sister, Mara, is supposedly living. Instead she finds Jason, Mara’s angry son, with many stories to share. Although five—Aileen, Mara, Jason and two women in his life—was at least one too many points of view for me, Slayter’s writing itself is elegant and full of secrets. The settings on both coasts are vivid and the mix of truth and lies was compelling. Aileen and Jason weren’t likable, but they were intriguing, making for a dark and mysterious read. The story satisfied with unexpected twists and incredibly thoughtful prose, ultimately leading to a heartbreaking end.

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