Birds on the Trees by Nina Bawden
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Birds on the Trees
By Nina Bawden

The Birds on the Trees

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Format: Paperback

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Birds on the Trees by Nina Bawden

Book Awards

  • Shortlisted for Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2010.

Book Description

The expulsion from school of their eldest son shatters the middle-class secutiry of Maggie, a writer, and Charlie, a journalist. Since childhood, Toby has been diffident and self-absorbed, but the threat of drug taking and his refusal (or inability) to discuss his evident unhappiness, disturbs them sufficiently to seek professional help. Veering between private agony and public cheerfulness, Maggie and Charlie struggle to support their son and cope with the reactions- and advice- of friends and relatives. Noted for the acuity with which she reaches into the heart of relationships, Nina Bawden here excels in revealing the painful, intimate truths of a family in crisis. Toby's situation is explored with great tenderness, while Maggie's grief and self-recrimination are rigorously, if compassionately, observed. It is a novel that raises fundamental questions about parents and their children, and offers tentative hope but no tidy solutions.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781853813733
ISBN-10: 1853813737
Format: Paperback
(151mm x 200mm x 14mm)
Pages: 208
Imprint: Virago Press Ltd
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publish Date: 26-Sep-1991
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Other Editions...

Books By Author Nina Bawden

Peppermint Pig by Nina Bawden Peppermint Pig, Paperback (July 2016)

Johnnie was only the runt of the litter, a little peppermint pig. He'd cost Mother a shilling, but somehow his great naughtiness and cleverness kept Poll and Theo cheerful, even though it was one of the most difficult years of their lives.

Carrie's War by Nina Bawden Carrie's War, Paperback (July 2014)

It is the Second World War and Carrie and Nick are evacuated from London to a small town in Wales, where they are placed with strict Mr Evans and his timid mouse of a sister. Their friend Albert is luckier, living in Druid's Bottom with Hepzibah Green who tells wonderful stories, and the strange Mister Johnny, who speaks a language all of his own.

Outside Child by Nina Bawden Outside Child, Paperback (October 2008)

Jane Tucker is thirteen years old when she discovers she has a half-brother and sister, a revelation which promises to bring both excitement and succour to her ordinary life. But for unknown reasons, she is prevented from meeting them. Can Jane at last be part of a 'proper' family, or must she always remain the outside child?

On the Run by Nina Bawden On the Run, Paperback (October 2008)

Ben, eleven years old and the youngest of the Mallory children, has left his aunt and siblings to come to London where his widower father wishes to introduce him to his young future step-mother. Unable to return home when his brother and sister become ill, Ben is left on his own to explore the maze of walled gardens which surround his new home.

» View all books by Nina Bawden


US Kirkus Review » The modest and moderating virtues of Nina Bawden's novels can easily be demonstrated by her earlier titles, The Grain of Truth, or A Little Love, A Little Learning - there are always mothers and husbands and wives and children who are forced to assess and revise their interpersonal sets. The bird charmer of the title is Toby, eldest son of Maggie and Charlie, who is gentle and quiet. . . too quiet now that he's withdrawn altogether (heroin? schizophrenia?). Backtracking (and sometimes sidetracking the reader in a somewhat disruptive fashion) this deals with the effect of Toby's illness on all the members of the family when just "behaving naturally" becomes a forced brightness to overcome awkward silences. While Lucy, Toby's sister, feels altogether excluded and unwanted. But their grandmother Sara (whose earlier loss of a son is remembered as a source of retaliation against rather than concern for her daughter) ultimately shows a native granny-woman sense. This reclaims Toby where parental and professional help fails. . . . Miss Bawden, in her wise attribution of guilt and dispersion of sympathy, accommodates here, adjusts there, and makes a tentative coexistence possible, one that permits a little hope. And, as always, she's an accomplished pleasure to read. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Nina Bawden

Nina Bawden (1925-2012) was one of Britain's best-loved writers for both adults and children. Several of her children's books - Carrie's War, a Phoenix Award winner;The Peppermint Pig, which won the Guardian Fiction Award; and Keeping Henry - have become contemporary classics. She wrote over forty novels, slightly more than half of which are for adults, and she was shortlisted for the 1987 Man Booker Prize for Circles of Deceit. She received the prestigious S T Dupont Golden Pen Award for a lifetime's contribution to literature in 2004, and in 2010 The Birds on the Trees was shortlisted for the Lost Booker of 1970.

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