The Big Black Bird

This title is an outstanding showcase for author Stefanie Höfler’s writing talent, describing with great tenderness and poignancy the experiences of two brothers in the days that follow their mother’s death.

The Big Black Bird is a gentle take on bereavement, showing how fourteen-year-old Ben, six-year-old Karl and their father each deal with grief, through flashbacks to the past as well as their ongoing interactions with the people around them. The book is full of poetic language and striking imagery, with blackbirds and feathers as recurring motifs, reflecting the lost mother’s deep love of nature. As well as the devastating account of the brothers’ immediate experiences of losing their mother, there are numerous scenes that give us insights into her love for life, her sense of independence and the wonder, magic and sparkle she bestowed upon those around her. These shared memories and lessons continue to shape the family’s life and enable them to move on and find a way of living with their grief. This is a truly wonderful book, beautiful in style and profoundly human and uplifting.

Stefanie Höfler was born in 1978 and studied German, English and Scandinavian language and literature in Freiburg and Dundee. Her debut Mein Sommer mit Mucks was nominated for the German Children’s Literature Award, and she received the Luchs des Jahres prize for her 2017 novel Der Tanz der Tiefseequalle. She lives with her family in a small town in the Black Forest.

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