Subversive Reader Reviews: The Anatomy of Wings (AWW2013)

Book reviews and AWW posts can be found here.

AWW2013 – Book 11

The Anatomy of Wings

Adventures of a Subversive Reader: The Anatomy of Wings

Karen Foxlee
Adult Contemporary Fiction

Library Book, Moreton Bay Regional Libraries


Ten year old Jennifer, and everyone else who lives in their small, mining town, are trying to get to terms with the sudden death of her older sister, Beth. Only, Jennifer and her best friend think they know how to work it out – they’ll use a seemingly random collection of items to investigate what happened in the lead up to the tragic event. Only when they work it out, will Jennifer find her singing voice again.

What unfolds is a forward and backward and around the corner look at Jennifer, Beth, their family and the tiny community they live in. Sometimes the reader finds themselves in the present time, in a house full of sleeping mourners, other times the reader finds themselves in the past, watching as Beth makes a series of decisions which take her further and further along a path which leads towards her end. Then there are the moments of learning about the neighbours and the lives they live, when we realise that grief is not a thing isolated to one event or one family, and how the lives of people in small towns interact and get complicated all together.

This is another lyrical read, another book which feels like music as you read it. I found it pretty easy to move around in time and places, and easily followed the story line, even when it felt like the story line shouldn’t be easy to follow. I love the thread of the lost singing voice, especially with such lyrical writing. I also love the way that birds are woven through the story. It’s one of those books where the more you think about it, the more of it you remember and fall in love with it again.



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