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Songbirds cover art

Songbirds

Written by: Christy Lefteri
Narrated by: Indira Varma,George Georgiou,Art Malik,Lolita Chakrabarti
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Publisher's Summary

Her courage to cross oceans.

Her hope for a better life.

Her love for a daughter, above all else.

Not all tragedies make headlines, not every voice is heard.

Nisha has crossed oceans to give her child a future. Now she spends her days caring for someone else's daughter while her own waits for her return, half a world away.

For Petra, it is only natural to hire a domestic worker to keep her house clean and her family fed. Their lives have nothing in common, except the love they feel for their daughters.

Then one day, Nisha vanishes. No one cares about the disappearance of a foreign domestic worker, except Petra and Nisha's secret lover, Yiannis, the only connection to her daughter back in Sri Lanka. 

As Petra and Yiannis desperately search for Nisha, they realise how little they knew about her. What they uncover will change them both forever.

Inspired by true stories of love and loss, hope and refuge, this evocative masterpiece from the million-copy best-selling author of The Beekeeper of Aleppo, Christy Lefteri, is an illuminating story of the power of the human spirit, and the enduring love of a mother for her child, that will stay with you long after you finish listening.

©2021 Christy Lefteri (P)2021 Bonnier Books UK

Critic Reviews

"Will break your heart and open your eyes." (Heather Morris, author of The Tattooist of Auschwitz)

"I've never read anything quite like Songbirds—a beautifully crafted novel." (Jodi Picoult, best-selling author of Wish You Were Here

"This thought-provoking novel of love loss and redemption is thoroughly sublime." (Caroline Montague) 

"...broke my heart and kept me turning the pages of her gorgeous novel well into the night." (Alka Joshi, NYT best-selling author of The Henna Artist and The Secret Keeper of Jaipur

"Christy Lefteri has crafted a beautiful novel, intelligent, thoughtful, and relevant." (Benjamin Zephaniah on The Beekeeper of Aleppo

"...it's impossible not to be moved by Lefteri's plea for humanity and perhaps inspired too." (Observer, on The Beekeeper of Aleppo

"Courageous, proactive, haunting." (Heather Morris, on The Beekeeper of Aleppo

What listeners say about Songbirds

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  • Karen Around The Table
  • 01-08-21

Profoundly moving

I had been looking forward to this book having been deeply moved by The Beekeeper of Aleppo.
I had listened to Beekeeper here on audible too and loved Art Malik’s reading.
Whilst I enjoyed this book too it did not have as profound an effect on me as Beekeeper. I think that is partly because Beekeeper opened my eyes to the plight of real individuals who were refugees in a way I had not experienced . But it is also the narration and editing which I felt was less effective than the first book. The gaps at the end of chapters before Art Malik’s interventions felt discordant.
I would like to read this because I think then I would get more from the book.
The theme is powerful. Having lived in the Middle East I am aware of the plight of so many domestic workers - thank you to Christy Lefteri for drawing attention to this

8 people found this helpful

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  • Margaret
  • 11-07-21

Not for me

I could even finish it. Very boring. Although I enjoyed the next book. Sorry but nothing good to say about this one.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Yellow
  • 30-01-22

A beautiful and tragic story


Loved this book. I recommend it highly. This book is about the invisible women we take for granted, the ones who are poor and immigrant. There’s a hierarchy of women: the ones who have the power to purchase labour and the ones without. The ones who leave their families behind to raise another woman’s child because of the imperative of economics, and the inequality of wealth. The story was well written and poetic. It showed humans as predatory both in the human and animal word. We hunt humans as much as we hunt animals. This is a book that shed light on the story of those often forgotten and treated like a scourge on society. A must read.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-09-21

Wonderful story

How I have loved this amazing book narrated with such feeling. it took me into a world I had known deep down existed but one that I had ignored as too uncomfortable to dwell in. I have smiled and laughed and wept. The author's acute observation and empathy shone through. A truly wonderful novel

4 people found this helpful

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  • Mrs Linda A Williams
  • 27-07-21

Wonderful book

Absolutely wonderful book - brilliantly narrated - beautifully written!!!! Best book I’ve read since The Beekeeper of Aleppo. Let’s hope there is another book coming.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Gillian Winn
  • 17-11-21

Songbirds

Although the start is quite slow moving, I advise you to complete this lovely book. The language is beautiful, poignant and stirs vivid images and wonderful emotions. It is sensitively written and really makes you think. I don’t usually listen to audiobooks, however the intensity of the story is really heightened because you have to really concentrate and hone your listening skills, which conjures up much more imaginative thinking and imagery.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Brita O' Sullivan
  • 17-06-22

Poor ending and

The ending really let this book down. When the narrator begins to speak there is a big pause in the audio each time - you would think that there is a buffering issue. After the bird song begins the start of what he said was cut off almost every time. That really needs to be addressed.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Rocket
  • 29-03-22

A little underwhelming

Having found 'The beekeeper of Aleppo' to be excellent I was really keen to read another book by the same author and this was the choice. It almost doesn't feel right to be critical, given that it's the same writer that I'd liked so much previously, but I found this a little disappointing.

This book has a 'point' yes, and I really like that in a story, but I just didn't feel as affected by it as I imagine I was meant to be.

It's not really a spoiler to reveal that the story centres around a missing immigrant maid but I really wanted to hear more of her viewpoint or if not then at least to be more moved by the emotions of those close to her as they tried to piece together what happened.

By the end I felt like I was missing a chunk of the emotion I was meant to experience and ultimately I felt, as I say, a little underwhelmed.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 27-09-21

songbirds

lovely, gentle understanding of feelings.
wished for a happy ending, but understand why it needed to be .
Thankyou all

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 23-01-22

Great message, lazy plot.

The performances were great, they encouraged me to invest my time in listening for the 11 and a bit hours.
The plot was fun to follow until the final few chapters where it came to an end, abruptly and was honestly very disappointing. Oh well🤙🏻

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jo
  • 11-11-22

A fascinating book, beautifully executed

I bought this audio book a long time before I read it and I must admit that I had forgotten the premise of the story. It was a pleasant surprise when I started it to find that it wasn’t the story I had been expecting at all. What I liked is that underneath the story of the missing maid is an another story that all too often goes untold of the plight of domestic workers who are an invisible part of modern-day slavery. In Songbirds you see that they are subject to prejudice and ignorance from their employers, most are treated with indifference (as though they are somehow sub-human) and some are treated with actual cruelty. This book shines a light on the mistreatment but also very successfully draws out the human stories that lead these women to give up their families and their homes and everything they have ever known to travel across the world to cook, clean and skivvy for wealthy people. This is a really good story and I love the educative elements, subtly delivered but successfully opening up my eyes to something I knew a little about but had no real frame of reference to understand.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 27-05-22

can't get enough, I am spellbound

I am Petra, learning so much about a world I didn't know existed. Wow what a story. Beautifully written and well told by the narrators. My only disappointment is that I have now completed all of Christy Lefteri's works. Each one has revealed so much to me, thank you

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 17-05-22

A very engaging read

The way the book was written and narrated makes me feel like I now know these characters personally. The story is eye opening and makes you a little more human.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 18-01-22

Wholesome and Heartbreaking!

Read this after Lefteri's 'Beekeeper of Aleppo' and I am in love with her writing! Definitely one of the best books I've ever read!

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  • Karla
  • 21-12-21

Reading this beautifully presented story makes one want to cry for humanity

I cried for the songbirds, and a practice I’m sure still is still rife. A dad account of some aspects of human nature coupled with some hope for the future. A great read with beautiful phrasing

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  • Marita
  • 21-12-21

Confronting

Very well written, and exposes some issues that we don't necessarily get exposed to in our safe first world Australia. Not a happy read, but I'm glad I read it and would recommend it. There was a chapter added on to the end of her other book - the Beekeeper of Aleppo. I thought that was a mistake. It put me off reading it.