Tiny Sunbirds Far Away, By Christie Watson

Be thankful for this curious Blessing

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The Independent Culture

Christie Watson's accomplished debut, shortlisted for last year's Costa first novel award, is narrated by Blessing, a 12-year-old Nigerian girl.

As the story opens we find her living a cosseted life in a luxury apartment in Lagos, but when her father abandons the family she is forced to move in with grandparents in the Niger Delta, a region that is riven by violence.

Blessing's is a distinctive voice, at once credulous and curious; as she says when she first arrives at her new home: "I opened my eyes as wide as they could go, to let in all the differences." The same might be said of Watson herself; her descriptions of character and place are beautifully observed. A promising new talent.