Author: Rijn Collins
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (Australia)
Publication Date: 8 March 2023
Format: eBook - PDF
Genre: Literary Fiction
Source: ARC via NetGalley
Prepare to be bewitched by Iceland and the book that has enchanted readers for decades – and imprisoned one of them.
Elva loves Iceland for many reasons – the epic landscape of gods and volcanos, the weather that’s the polar opposite of her home in Australia, and the fact that it’s where her mother might have gone back to when she disappeared. Iceland is where Elva’s beloved grandfather – the famous children’s book author - lives in a remote village and where the beings that haunt her imagination reside.
Elva is interested in the odd things people make – Victorian collectibles, old spells, taxidermy, fairytales. The weird, the wonderful and the sometimes macabre. She’s got a few quirks of her own that she’s (mainly) keeping under control. Except one.
Working in a shop of curiosities, studying at Icelandic language school, Elva begins to explore her obsessions, and when her grandfather suffers a stroke, they threaten to overtake her. Then she meets Remy, a painter who’s got some secrets of his own …
In her captivating debut, Rijn Collins has created a beautifully evocative portrait of an enchanted mind in an enchanting place – a story of everyday magic, both dark and light; of families and the shadows they can cast; of the delights and dangers of the imagination. Fed to Red Birds will transport you to remote corners of both the world and the human heart.
Fed to Red Birds was a story quite different and interesting, so it immediately caught and held my attention when I started reading. At first I wondered if it would go off in a magical realism direction, but that turned out not to be the case. Instead, I would describe it as a book focused on the role our imagination can play in the way we view the world and how this can have both positive and negative effects. Elva is a character who needs to come to terms with a past both real and imagined in order to move forward in her life. Although a part of me regretted that the magical realism angle I'd envisioned didn't come, I still found the story thought provoking and intriguing, well paced and with pleasing prose. As an aside, I visited Iceland in 2015 and loved it there, so it was also enjoyable for me to read place names I recognised, bringing back memories of that trip. Overall, I am giving this book four stars. Recommended if you like literary fiction with a quirky twist.
I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.