Birdcage Walk by Helen DunmoreBirdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore

Birdcage Walk

byHelen Dunmore

Hardcover | August 11, 2017

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It is 1792 and Europe is seized by political turmoil and violence. Lizzie Fawkes has grown up in Radical circles where each step of the French Revolution is followed with eager idealism. But she has recently married John Diner Tredevant, a property developer who is heavily invested in Bristol's housing boom, and he has everything to lose from social upheaval and the prospect of war. Soon his plans for a magnificent terrace built above the two-hundred-foot drop of the Gorge come under threat. Tormented and striving Diner believes that Lizzie's independent, questioning spirit must be coerced and subdued. She belongs to him: law and custom confirm it, and she must live as he wants - his passion for Lizzie darkening until she finds herself dangerously alone.Weaving a deeply personal and moving story with a historical moment of critical and complex importance, Birdcage Walk is an unsettling and brilliantly tense drama of public and private violence, resistance and terror from one of our greatest storytellers.
Helen Dunmore is the author of fourteen novels. Her first, Zennor in Darkness, won the McKitterick Prize. Her third novel, A Spell of Winter, won the inaugural Orange Prize, now the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction. Her bestselling novel The Siege was shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel of the Year and the Orange Prize.
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Title:Birdcage WalkFormat:HardcoverDimensions:416 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.37 inPublished:August 11, 2017Publisher:Grove/AtlanticLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0802127142

ISBN - 13:9780802127143

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Poignant, Ominous, and Remarkably Descriptive! Birdcage Walk takes us back to Bristol in the late 1790s when France was full of unrest, war was on the horizon, and the British people struggled with impoverishment, scarcity, impending disaster, and financial ruin. The prose is expressive and raw. The main characters include the maternal, independent, supportive Lizzie and the jealous, iron-fisted, ruined Tredevant. And the plot, although a little slow in the middle, is laced from start to finish with an underlying feeling of despair and a real, palpable bleakness as the ongoing drama, social strife, economic uncertainty, marital tension, and increasing violence unravels. I have to admit that even though Birdcage Walk is not my favourite novel by Dunmore, it is still a beautiful, haunting tale that highlights her talent of writing historical fiction that moves, informs, and leaves a lasting impression. The passing of Dunmore earlier this year is certainly a tremendous loss for the literary world and to quote from the inscription on the grave of her fictional character in this novel, “Her Words Remain Our Inheritance.”
Date published: 2017-12-12
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Historical England I love books that are set in historical England. I always learn things from them. I was a little lost when at the beginning because I wasn’t familiar with what was happening at that time period. The story began with a contemporary narrator who found Lizzie’s mother’s grave. He wants to learn more about Julia but there isn’t anything documented about her. Then Lizzie’s story begins. I wish the first narrator was revisited throughout the story. I enjoyed his part, while he searched for information on Lizzie’s mother. Lizzie’s mother, Julia, was a feminist. She believed in fighting for women’s rights. This was nice to see in a historical setting, though I have to wonder how realistic that would be during that time. The story was narrated by Lizzie, but I didn’t feel connected to her. She did things that didn’t make sense and she couldn’t even explain herself. I found her annoying most of the time. The story was very character driven. There wasn’t a lot of plot happening. In the last quarter of the book, the story picked up when some drama happened. But I didn’t find it exciting for most of the book. I found this book a little disappointing. It just wasn’t exciting enough for me. I received a copy of this book on NetGalley in exchange for a review.
Date published: 2017-11-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from An Emotional and Tension Filled Glimpse of Life in Bristol During the French Revolution Baroque is the word that comes to mind after finishing "Birdcage Walk". Drama, tension and poetic influence is how I would describe the book. I cannot say that I loved this new novel by Helen Dunmore. I felt the plot was missing some key climatic elements. I did not care for the heroine Lizzy, I was hoping for her to rise above her situation and so many times she let me down. Diner was very unlikeable and controlling but yet Lizzy would throw herself into his arms again and again. Lizzy doubted herself so many times I struggle to call her the heroine. Lizzy's half brother seemed to be the best thing that happened to her in the entire novel, and yet when it came to a decision between her brother and her husband, she chooses her husband. What I do feel Helen Dunmore excelled at was her descriptions and settings in the novel. She vividly captures what life was like in Bristol at that time in history. Her writing is poetic and sensual as she attempts to depict what emotional trials people might have faced during the French Revolution. However, Dunmore's repeated insertion of political discussion into the dialogue felt forced and did not really add anything to the development of the characters or the narrative. I would recommend this book to my friends but I am not sure I would reread it. I do want to give my appreciation to NetGalley and Grove Atlantic for a free ARC copy of "Birdcage Walk". Thanks again.
Date published: 2017-05-24

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Exposure Much like a slick, shape-shifting spook, Exposure is many things at once - an espionage thriller, a forbidden-love story, an immigrant's tale - and it assumes these varied identities with confidence . . . a novel you won't be able to shake." - Entertainment Weekly "Dunmore has always been fantastic on the complexity of people's motivations and the secret reasons they act as they do. This book is no exception . . . This may be an unconventional thriller, but it's still a page turner for that . . . as much a surprising love story as it is a tale of spies." - New York Times Book Review "Dunmore's strategy, placing a triangle of past and present loves within a spy novel, yields an unexpected dividend... viscerally exciting." - New Yorker "There are resemblances to Virginia Woolf not only in the terrific prose... a luminous story of courage and forgiveness." - Arts Fuse "A spy novel but one that has been quietly and ingeniously deepened well beyond the ambitions of genre . . . one of those books that you read with your heart in your mouth, your mind fully engaged, and with a sense of desolation as you note the dwindling number of pages left before it comes to an end." - Chicago Tribune "