All the Little Bird-Hearts by  Viktoria Lloyd-Barlow

All the Little Bird-Hearts

Viktoria Lloyd-Barlow

Autistic mother Sunday lives with her teenage daughter, Dolly, in a small cottage in the Lake District. When outwardly polished and seemingly charming couple, Vita and Rollo, come to live next door, Dolly and Sunday soon come under their spell. I loved the brooding atmosphere in the book, as much as the voice of Sunday who is brutally honest telling the story.


I was engulfed by her. I was held up weightlessly within her gaze, exactly as I had once floated in the cold, dark lake with my sister. It was a sensation like safety. But Vita was still talking: to come with me? I suppose you're, urn, working?' Vita said 'working' as if it was a foreign and unfamiliar word that required concentration for correct pronunciation.
'Yes. But I would rather work than go shopping with you.'

Her gaze was still fixed on me, but she remained silent for a time, and I noticed the break in her pattern of speech. So far, she had only taken brief pauses in her speech when she specifically wanted a response, and her words were like early fireworks: -tuh -tuh -tuh -tuh -tuh -tuh -tuh -silence tuh tuh tuh tuh tuh tuh tuh tuh silence. I wondered if anyone had ever refused this charming woman anything before. Then she smiled and clapped her hands together like a starlet in a silent film.

'Oh, I fucking love that. I love honest people, darling. It's so much easier to say what you think, isn't it? I bet there isn't much of that here, though, is there? Everyone in these little towns is so polite. Inside their little houses. So concerned with what other people think.'

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