Birds Without Wings

  • by Louis de Bernieres
  • Narrated by John Lee
  • 22 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Birds Without Wings is the story of a small town in Anatolia in the dying days of the Ottoman Empire told in the richly varied voices of the men and women (Armenians, Christians, and Muslims) whose lives are intertwined and rooted there: Iskander, the potter and local fount of wisdom; Philotei, the Christian girl of legendary beauty, courted almost from infancy by Ibrahim the goatherd, a great love that culminates in tragedy and madness; and many more. When jihad is declared against the Franks and the young men of the town are conscripted, we follow Iskander's son, Karatavuk, to Gallipoli, where the intimate brutality of battle robs him of all innocence, just as the town he left behind is robbed of its centuries-old peace by the twin scourges of fanatical religion and nationalism that the war unleashed.


Audible Editor Reviews

Why You Should Download This Audiobook: Hard to put into words the effect of this powerful historical novel. British author Louis de Bernieres has essentially created a world of vivid, finely drawn characters, whose simple lives will change irrevokably in the wake of World War I. Like the best novels based on real events, de Bernieres' Birds Without Wings enriches the listener's understanding of a period in history while revealing with great sensitivity the impact of terrible events on human lives.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Not for the faint of heart

An intricate web of storytelling that brings an understanding to a part of WWI that has received such little attention. I am in awe of Louis De Bernieres' ability to impart through dialogue so much of the feeling, with such authenticity, the perspective of characters who are so foreign in every way. The one perspective that is not foreign, though, is their humanity, that which is common to us all. It is through the eyes and ears and hearts of these characters that we see the world in which they lived, the community that they shared, and the sometimes improbable lives that they led. De Bernieres weaves a complex story whcih demands much from his reader. If you can commit to that demand, he will deliver an unforgettable tale full of history, humanity, and humor. A masterpiece!
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- Augie


I say 'haunting' because it is several weeks since I listened to this book, and the characters still reverberate in my head. The reading is wonderful, it captures the inflection and state of mind of the speaker. The reader is also very versitle and when he switches characters you don't get lost and you begin to actually seen the world through the character's eyes even while you marvel at the shape and strangeness of their world. The world he creates is every bit as articulate as Faulkner's. The big flaw in the book is the whole Kamel Ataturk sequence. After the finely textured lives and lines of the active characters, these passages just go flat. The author is seeking to situate his characters within the larger social context, but sometimes it gets lost. His Koratavok, Polixinee, Memenchik, Philotae, Rustan Bey, Tamarah-hanum and all the others will stay in my mind for a long, long time.
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- Bill

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-18-2004
  • Publisher: Books on Tape