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Hannah’s Pick of the Week: Bird Suit by Sydney Hegele


Cover of "Bird Suit" by Sydney Hegele


It wasn’t too late to back out. She could’ve said that she’d changed her mind. But by then, she felt like she deserved to do something that she didn’t want to do as a punishment for misunderstanding her own desires. She should’ve known earlier. She should’ve known all along.”  

Sydney Hegele, Bird Suit, pg. 77 


Port Peter is a summer sanctuary, built around tourists lusty for sun, surf, and fresh Red Haven peaches. But when the peaches turn to rot and the bellies of local girls swell with the babies of tourist boy-men, year-rounders know where to drop them off: in a little basket by the cliff-side, a sacrifice to the Birds who live below in Lake Ligeia. Georgia was a sacrifice that they rejected, and now, over twenty years later, she haunts the roads of her suffocatingly small town, puttering back and forth between convenience stores and sleeping with men who hurt her upon request. 

Things become complicated when Anglican priest Arlo Bloom moves back to town after fleeing years ago, his wife Felicity and nineteen-year-old son Isaiah in tow. Georgia tangles herself up in the Blooms, who arrive at the tourist town haunted by ghosts of their own, and Georgia finds herself at the epicenter of a whirlwind of hatred, love, lust, grief, and familial trauma that threatens to hurl all of them off the precipice of longing. 

As lush as a fresh peach, as blunt and brutal as desire can be, Bird Suit is unflinching in its descriptions and is wholly human in its portrayal of small-town Canada. Hegele writes like they’re out of breath, and then stops to allow the reader to drink from the emotional pool that has formed at their feet. No character is left untouched, unscathed, unchanged. Written non-linearly, Hegele ensures each storyline is concluded, whether we like it or not.  

If you’ve read The Rabbit Hutch by Tess Gunty or Pew by Catherine Lacey, and you’ve enjoyed the character studies and lyrical prose that these two books hold, then Bird Suit is a solid next read. Or, if you’re interested in having your heart thrown this way and that, at the mercy of sirens, poetry, and inter-generational wounds, then I recommend Bird Suit. 


Author Image of Sydney Hegele

Photo by Calvin Thomas


Categories: Books and More

Tags: Books and More

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