Fed to Red Birds
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 volcanoes, 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, fairy tales. 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 an 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.
‘Intensely evocative and beautiful.’ Hannah Kent, author of Burial Rights
'Rijn Collins is a writer of great humanity and intelligence who has fashioned a vividly realised portrait of a young woman trying to make a life for herself in the shadow of familial trauma and dysfunction.' Simon McDonald, Kill Your Darlings
‘Fed to Red Birds is dreamy and immersive … both travelogue and beautifully written literary fiction. It is for readers who loved the insightful prose and armchair travel of Cold Enough for Snow by Jessica Au and the brooding, fairytale-esque feelings of Hydra by Adriane Howell.’ Books+Publishing
'[T]he sense of place in this novel is spellbinding – as is Collins’s prose in describing it.' Australian Book Review
'[L]ost in this book, I have only put it down for long enough to write this column, and am already missing Iceland and Elva terribly ... I feel I am typing this with frost-bitten fingers while being watched by trolls.' The Canberra Times
'Fed to Red Birds is a quietly haunting novel that leads us to ponder our histories and genealogies, and how we hold onto the past through our obsessions and compulsions.' Better Reading
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asked Australia beanie bird blue breath Cabinet of Curiosities café centimetre coat coee cup corner couldn’t count counter creatures curled Dalvík dark dierent door Elva Elva-Bjalla eyes face favourite feet felt front gave gaze gently glass going Grace hadn’t hair Hallgrímskirkja hand he’d he’s heard held honey Icelandic Icelandic horses Icelandic names icked Jirapa Joutsa kitchen knew Kristín Kunstkamera laughed lifted lled looked loved lyrebirds Melbourne Morgunblaðið mother mouth moved mythology book never ngers nodded Norns núna oered Ólafsfjörður pulled pushed reached realised Remy Remy’s Reykjavík shook my head shoulder Sigrún silence slowly smile snow soft sound stayed stood stopped sure talk taxidermy tell There’s thing thought throat told Tolli took tried turned voice waiting walked wanted watched what’s window wondered words you’re