Tail of the Blue Bird


4 in stock

Shortlisted for the 2010 Commonwealth Prize
A Die Well Top 10 Book
Sonokrom, a village in the Ghanaian hinterland, has not changed for thousands of years. Here, the men and women speak the language of the forest, drink aphrodisiacs with their palm wine and walk alongside the spirits of their ancestors. The discovery of sinister remains; possibly human, definitely ‘evil’; in a vanished man’s hut brings the modern world into the village in the form of Kayo; a young forensic pathologist convinced that scientific logic can shatter even the most inexplicable of mysteries.

But as events in the village become more and more incomprehensible, Kayo and his sidekick, Constable Garba, find that Western logic and political bureaucracy are no longer equal to the task in hand. Strange boys wandering in the forest, ghostly music in the night and a flock of birds that come from far away to fill the desolate hut with discarded feathers take the newcomers into a world where, in the unknown, they discover a higher truth that leaves scientific explanations far behind.

Tail of the Bluebird is a story of the mystical heart of Africa, of the clash and clasp between old and new worlds. Lyrically beautiful, at once uncanny and heart-warmingly human, this is a story that tells us that at the heart of modern man there remains the capacity to know the unknowable.


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Weight 0.250 kg

Nii Ayikwei Parkes

Nii Ayikwei Parkes is an author and performance poet who has performed on major stages across the world, including at The Royal Festival Hall and at a reading for the London Mayor’s vigil on July 14, 2005 (in response to the London bombings).

He is the author of the poetry chapbooks: Eyes of a Boy, Lips of a Man (1999), M is for Madrigal (2004), a selection of seven jazz poems and Ballast (2009), an imagination of the slave trade by balloon. His poem, Tin Roof, was selected for the 'Poems on the Underground' initiative in 2007 and his novel, Tail of the Blue Bird (Jonathan Cape, 2009) has been hailed by the Financial Times as 'a beautifully written fable... simple in form, but grappling with urgent issues.'

Nii is the Senior Editor at flipped eye publishing, a contributing editor to The Liberal, a former poet in residence at The Poetry Café, a 2005 associate writer in residence on BBC Radio 3, and has held visiting positions at the University of Southampton and California State University.

As a socio-cultural commentator and advocate for African writing, Nii has led forums internationally, has sat on discussion panels for BBC Radio with literary heavyweights such as Booker winners, Margaret Atwood and A.S. Byatt, and he runs the African Writers’ Evening series, at the Poetry Café in Covent Garden.

In 2007 he was awarded Ghana’s National ACRAG award for poetry and literary advocacy.

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