Jane's Reviews > Birdbrain

Birdbrain by Johanna Sinisalo
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's review
Feb 25, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: birds, fiction

I am a huge fan of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Birdbrain is about a young Finnish couple hiking in Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania; to keep their packs light they don’t take much to read. The woman takes along Heart of Darkness, which is why I read this book.

Very little happens in Birdbrain. The narration alternates between the man and the woman, and it is somewhat interesting as a he thinks-she thinks psychological study. (There is a third occasional narrative of what is presumably her brother which adds absolutely nothing to the story.)

The man is a control freak, and there is a bit of tension as the relationship between this new couple develops on the trail and she begins a quiet rebellion of sorts.

The book ends abruptly and either what happens is supposed to be ambiguous or I just didn’t get it. In any event, I did not like the ending. I knocked one star off due to the ending. This book is not a bad read, but it should not be mentioned in the same breath as Heart of Darkness, one of the greatest books ever written in the English language. (And I realize that I read this book in translation - perhaps it is better in Finnish.) If you want to read about civilized man traveling into the wild and madness, I suggest you read that instead.

Oh, and the main description here on Goodreads refers to the kakapo - it is actually the kea that is in the book. The kakapo is a flightless parrot the size of a chicken, hardly up to stealthy attacks on the belongings of humans.

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