Dealing sensitively with the shocking realities of state-sanctioned physical abuse and its aftermath, Bird of Passage is a powerful story of cruelty, loss and enduring love.

1960s Scotland. Young Finn O’Malley is sent from Ireland to work at the potato harvest and soon forms a close friendship with Kirsty Galbreath, the farmer’s red-headed grand-daughter. But Finn is damaged by a childhood so traumatic that he can only recover his memories slowly. What happened at the brutal Industrial School to which he was committed while still a little boy? For the sake of his sanity, he must try to find out why he was sent there, and what became of the mother he lost. As he struggles to answer these questions, his ability to love and be loved in return is called into question.

When Kirsty moves away from home to study in Edinburgh, the threads that have bound these two friends so closely together begin to unravel. Only Kirsty’s ambitions as an artist can give her the fulfilment she seeks. But her work is tied up with her affection, not just for the island, but for Finn, who comes and goes, like the corncrake, a summer visitor. Many years later, India, a successful folk musician, returns to the small island where she was born, to unravel the mysterious and tragic love story which has remarkable significance for herself.

Catherine Czerkawska is an award winning author of novels, short stories and many plays for the stage and for BBC Radio 4. When not writing, she also finds time to collect and deal in antique and vintage textiles.

'It's not just a cracking read, it's a genuinely powerful one, and once you stumble over the great love story at its centre you won't be able to put this book down. There's real pain here and many different kinds of healing, few of them nice. A story that like Wuthering Heights has as many harsh and knotted bits as deliciously sweet ones, you will be taken to a different world by it, but one as real as your own.' David Manderson


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