The Birds That Never Flew was shortlisted for the Dundee International Book Prize under the working title of The Dandelion Clock. In November 2013 it was published by Scottish Independent Publisher Thunderpoint. In 2014, I was thrilled to learn that it had been longlisted for the Polari Book Prize 2014.
Here’s a selection of some of the reviews posted on Goodreads and Amazon…
“The Birds That Never Flew is beautifully written, though behind the poetic language is a powerful and sometimes shocking story of sexual abuse and domestic violence, primarily told through the life of Elizabeth, the main character in the novel.
The subject matter is a difficult one, but it’s handled really well – stark and sensitive at the same time – and there are even moments of real humour in the book, not least in the gallus Glasgow patter of the Virgin Mary. I’m not offering any further explanation for that. You’ll have to read the book yourself!
Elizabeth, in particular, was an instantly believable character, although the whole cast of characters which occupy the novel are all brilliantly written, whether likeable or despicable. I also found myself thinking about Elizabeth after I’d finished The Birds That Never Flew and hoping that she’ll be okay, and that’s the mark of a really good novel.”
“Margot McCuaig’s debut novel explodes from the page: an exciting, empathetic exploration of the harrowing experiences of Elizabeth. The subject matter of abuse in many and varied forms is handled with care, understanding and humanity. The characterisation is sharp, engaging and in one case definitely unique! I was mesmerised by Elizabeth’s struggles, her talent and her coping strategies. Expect the unexpected and immerse yourself in this book. It’s really very good!”
“An excellent first novel from a writer who we can expect to hear from again. The story has more twists and turns than a west Highland road. Sexual and physical abuse, drug taking, and mental illness swirl around a vortex of emotions. Black humour and banter lightens a deeply dark story, which retains the interest until the final coup de grace. Highly recommended.”
“I read the Kindle edition of this well-executed debut novel. The author has a unique voice and does so many things right; her use of Glaswegian dialect is just enough to give the reader the flavour of the area, and her dialogue flows. The book is jammed with suspense, just when the reader takes a breath, it all starts up again. I had to read it all in one go because I couldn’t stop. I needed to get to the end as my heart was racing so.
Although the subject matter is dark and at times difficult, the author uses it to provide background for her heroine. I absolutely loved the character of the Virgin Mary and the scenes with her.”
“A brilliant first novel. A dark and disturbing storyline mixed with black humour and the Virgin Mary’s Glesga patter! All-too-convincing characters take you on a fantastic journey that shocks and fascinates in equal measure. I wondered (and worried!) how it was going to end but wasn’t disappointed. Highly recommended!”
“This book is amazing! The writing is vivd and descriptive, at times heartbreakingly so, yet still manages to be funny and engaging.The main theme of the book is dark and focuses on the character of Elizabeth and her very sad story. The author makes you cry and laugh on the same page. I would say this is one of the best, most original books I have ever read and highly recommend it! Dare I say, it would make a great Scottish film…?!”
“This is an amazing debut novel. The content is dark, very dark, but in contrast, the writing is so beautiful, that it’s almost poetic at times. This really is life in the raw, as it takes you on one heck of a journey, that carries you helplessly along to its conclusion. It doesn’t seem right to say I ‘enjoyed’ this book in the normal sense of the word, as some of the events are so horrific, but what I can say is I was mesmerised, and I would happily read anything that Margot McCuaig writes in the future. I feel like I’ve witnessed the birth of a very special literary star here! Thank you to Goodreads for this first reads giveaway, and to the author for a very special book.”
“A book that shocks, delights, makes you happy and intrigues you all in equal measure – a deep and heartfelt story – thoroughly recommend”