Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme that was started by @Lauren’s Page Turners but is now currently being hosted by Emily @ Budget Tales Book Blog. This meme is quite easy to follow – just randomly pick a book from your to-be-read list and give the reasons why you want to read it. It is that simple.

This week’s book:

When We Were Birds by Ayanna Lloyd Banwo

Blurb from Goodreads

A mythic love story set in Trinidad and Tobago, Ayanna Lloyd Banwo’s radiant debut introduces two unforgettable outsiders brought together by their connection with the dead.

You were never the smartest child, but even you should know that when a dead woman offers you a cigarette, the polite thing to do would be to take it. Especially when that dead woman is your mother.

The St. Bernard women have lived in Morne Marie, the house on top of a hill outside Port Angeles, for generations. Built from the ashes of a plantation that enslaved their ancestors, it has come to shelter a lineage that is bonded by much more than blood. One woman in each generation of St. Bernards is responsible for the passage of the city’s souls into the afterlife. But Yejide’s relationship with her mother, Petronella, has always been contorted by anger and neglect, which Petronella stubbornly carries to her death bed, leaving Yejide unprepared to fulfill her destiny.

Raised in the countryside by a devout Rastafarian mother, Darwin has always abided by the religious commandment not to interact with death. He has never been to a funeral, much less seen a dead body. But when his ailing mother can no longer work and the only job he can find is grave digging, he must betray the life she built for him in order to provide for them both. Newly shorn of his dreadlocks and his past and determined to prove himself, Darwin finds himself adrift in a city electric with possibility and danger.

Yejide and Darwin will meet inside the gates of Fidelis, Port Angeles’s largest and oldest cemetery, where the dead lie uneasy in their graves and a reckoning with fate beckons them both. A masterwork of lush imagination and immersive lyricism, When We Were Birds is a spellbinding novel about inheritance, loss, and love’s seismic power to heal.

Why I Want To Read It

Happy Monday everyone! I hope that you were able to meditate, rest, and recover during the weekend. I also hope that the first day of the week had been kind to all of you. Yesterday marked the start of the Holy Week for Christians. I hope we find the time to reflect on these coming days. For my fellow accountants, I hope you are all staying strong. I know that many of you are scrambling to complete the 2021 financial audit. April 15/18 is just around the corner. The busy season is about to come to an end. A pat on the back to all auditors and accountants for surviving another busy season. Beyond the busy season, I hope everyone is doing well in body, mind, and spirit. Meanwhile, I hope that the rest of the week will be a good one for everyone. I also hope that the pandemic, with all its variants, will soon come to an end.

At the start of the month, I had no clear what my April reading month would look like. Since then, I have been reading works of female writers, making April an extension of my March Women’s History Month reading month. I have been alternating writers who are new to me and writers who are not-so-new to me like my current read, A.S. Byatt’s The Children’s Book. For my Goodreads Monday updates, I have also been featuring works by female writers. For this week, I am featuring a book I recently added to my want-to-read list, Ayanna Lloyd Banwo’s When We Were Birds.

I think it was while searching for the most anticipated releases in 2Q 2022 that I encountered Ayanna Lloyd Banwo and her novel When We Were Birds. Ayanna Lloyd Banwo is from Trinidad and Tobago, a nation whose literature I have not dipped into yet. I know that Sir V.S. Naipaul is from Trinidad and Tobago but I also have not read any of his works yet although I resolve to, in the future. This is one of the reasons why I wanted to read the novel. Moreover, this is Banwo’s debut novel although some of her works have been published in various publications.

I am also drawn to the novel’s premise. The romance is fine but what I am curious about is the examination of mother-daughter dynamics. I am also interested in the cultural touchstones I surmise the novel contains. Apparently, the book falls under the magical realism genre. Interesting because magical realism in the ambit of Latin American literature is not only complex but also varied. It can be extensively surrealistic type like in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude or it can be subtle like in Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits and in Laura Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolates. This piques my interest more.

There are quite a lot of reasons why I look forward to When We Were Birds which somehow reminded me of Hafsa Zayyan’s We Are All Birds of Uganda, another debut novel I featured on my Goodreads Monday posts. The prospect of reading a new voice and gaining more cultural insights always fills me with excitement. Recently released, I hope to acquire a copy of the book so that I can delve into it immediately. How about you fellow reader? What book written by a female author are you looking forward to? I hope you could share it in the comment box. For now, happy Monday, and as always, happy reading!