All the Little Bird-Hearts
Longlisted for the 2023 Booker Prize, this poetic and often funny debut - "a motherhood story unlike any other" (Booklist) - a by an author with autism is written from the point of view of an autistic woman as she and her headstrong adolescent daughter are befriended by a glamorous, charismatic couple with dark ulterior motives.
I lived for and loved a bird-heart that summer; I only knew it afterwards.
Sunday Forrester lives with her sixteen-year-old daughter, Dolly, in the house she grew up in. She does things more carefully than most people. On quiet days, she must eat only white foods. Her etiquette handbook guides her through confusing social situations, and to escape, she turns to her treasury of Sicilian folklore. The one thing very much out of her control is clever headstrong Dolly, now on the cusp of leaving home.
Into this carefully ordered world step Vita and Rollo, a couple who move in next door, disarm Sunday with their glamor and charm, and proceed to deliciously break just about every rule in Sunday's book. Soon they are in and out of each others' homes, and Sunday feels loved and accepted like never before. But beneath Vita and Rollo's polish lies something else, something darker. For Sunday has precisely what Vita has always wanted for herself: a daughter of her own.
An astute and poignant psychological portrait of a woman coming to terms with what love means, and why discovering our own unique gifts can save us.