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The Evening Chorus

Imprint: Serpent's Tail
Subject: Fiction

The Evening Chorus

Helen Humphreys

A story of four lives torn apart by war, falling in and out of love, and the unlikely moments that come to define a life - now available in paperback

eBook (ePUB/MOBI)?
9781782830870 (23 Apr 2015)

About the book

Shot down on his first RAF mission, James Hunter spends his war in a German prison camp. The other captive soldiers busy themselves planning their escapes, but James dedicates himself to a detailed study of the redstarts nesting just beyond the camp boundaries - a project that gives him something to live for and earns him an unusual ally in the Kommandant in charge of the camp.

Rose, James's young wife, is spending her war in a cottage on the lip of Ashdown Forest in Sussex, with her dog Harris for company. She'd hardly known James before he went away and can barely engage with his letters, which talk of nothing but birds. Now she has fallen in love with someone else - Toby, a young pilot home on sick leave. They meet secretly at night.

Then James's brusque sister Enid is bombed out of her flat in London and comes to live in Rose's tiny cottage. Little more than strangers, both women are guarded, and Rose tries to conceal her affair from Enid. But later both look back on this strange interlude as one of their happiest.
Beautifully written and full of moments of hope, The Evening Chorus is a stirring story about love and the natural world, set against the backdrop of the Second World War.

About the author

Helen Humphreys is a Canadian novelist and poet. She was born in London, England, and now lives in Kingston, Ontario. Humphreys' first novel, Leaving Earth, was a New York Times Notable Book in 1998 and won the City of Toronto Book Award. She is also the author of The Reinvention of Love, True Story, and The Evening Chorus.


A poised, lyrical novel about the griefs of war, written with poetic intensity of observation

- Helen Dunmore

Poignantly explores the sorrows of war and consolations of nature ... A story of heartbreak and hope, it unfolds against a mesmerizingly described natural world.

- Mail on Sunday

The Evening Chorus serenades people brutally marked by war yet enduring to live the tiny pleasures of another day. With her trademark prose Humphreys convinces us of the birdlike strength of the powerless.

- Emma Donoghue

In The Evening Chorus the interventions of war, and the resulting human tragedies, play out against a natural world at once remote, alien and ultimately redemptive. The novel has a crystalline quality about it - it's clear and complex and self-contained. It sparkles.

- Jo Baker, author of Longbourn

If there's a writer of English prose with a more profound connection to the natural world and to the subtleties of human love and sorrow than Helen Humphreys, I don't know who it is. The Evening Chorus is rich with her particular gift for symphonic cadences and beautiful imagery that moves a story forward with the momentum of a big train gathering speed. This riveting novel is a song. Listen.

- Richard Bausch, author of The Last Good Time, the forthcoming Before, During, After and others

Additional Information

Imprint: Serpent's Tail
Subject: Fiction

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