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The Birds on the Trees by Nina Bawden

The Birds on the Trees

Part of the Virago Modern Classics Series
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Shortlisted for the Lost Man Booker Prize.

A touching, intimate novel about a family on the verge of breakdown after the expulsion of the son from school and the subsequent events. Nina Bawden creates in depth characters and relationships and handles her material with tenderness and compassion. very moving read.


The Birds on the Trees by Nina Bawden

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.


'Nina Bawden gets inside the skins of all her people and shows them as paradoxical, crotchety, adulterous, ambitious and completely human ... A beautifully sustained impression of the impossibility of family life' - The Independent

About the Author

Nina Bawden

Nina Bawden, CBE, was one of Britain’s most distinguished and best-loved novelists. She published over forty novels and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Circles of Deceit. In 2004 she received the PEN Award for a Lifetime’s Service to Literature. She died on 22 August 2012.

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Book Info

Publication date

26th September 1991


Nina Bawden

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Virago Press Ltd an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group


208 pages


Literary Fiction
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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