Sarah's Reviews > Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang

Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm
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Sep 05, 2013

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites, speculative-fiction, sf
Read in September, 2013

I first read this book when I was fourteen. I read all of Kate Wilhelm's sf novels that same year, and some of her mysteries. Since then, both book and author have always been on my list of favorites, but in truth, I had completely forgotten the actual content.
On reread a lifetime later, it absolutely stands up. The language is beautiful. The premise is haunting. It follows a small community of survivors of a slow global cataclysm, and the decisions they make to maintain their community. I can see echoes of it in any number of modern dystopic novels.
Some childhood favorites don't hold up to rereads. I'm not sure what I got out of this at fourteen. Now, as a writer, I can admire Wilhelm's skilled use of multiple perspectives and an omniscient third person narrator. As a reader, I can look to the language and the settings and the characters and the way she investigates her premise. Whatever the gut feeling was as a teenager that told me that even if I didn't fully understand it, it was good -- it was right.
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