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Mirandi Riwoe



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Queensland Univ. Press
29 August 2023
1941, West Java. Love and revolution are in the air. And war is on its way.

Shortly before the Japanese invade, the van Hoorn family throws their famous Sinterklaas party at their tea plantation. One of their guests, Mattijs, a Dutch pilot, hopes to forge a future in the Dutch East Indies, possibly with the family's daughter, Anna, but she is torn between her dreams of Holland and her desire to belong. Meanwhile the housekeeper, Diah, keenly observes the goings-on around the plantation, wondering how much to tell her freedom-fighter brother. When the Japanese forces finally arrive on Java's doorstep, they all have to make decisions that will affect the rest of their lives, especially those who must evacuate to Australia.

Sunbirds depicts the intricate web of identities and loyalties created by war and imperialism, and the heartbreaking compromises that so often ensue.
Imprint:   Queensland Univ. Press
Country of Publication:   Australia
Dimensions:   Height: 227mm,  Width: 154mm,  Spine: 26mm
Weight:   390g
ISBN:   9780702265860
ISBN 10:   0702265861
Pages:   288
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Mirandi Riwoe is the author of Stone Sky Gold Mountain, which won the 2020 Queensland Literary Award - Fiction Book Award and the inaugural ARA Historical Novel Prize, and was shortlisted for the 2021 Stella Prize and longlisted for the 2021 Miles Franklin Literary Award. Her short story collection The Burnished Sun includes her novella The Fish Girl, which won the 2017 Viva la Novella prize and was shortlisted for the 2018 Stella Prize. Her work has appeared in Best Australian Stories, Meanjin, Review of Australian Fiction, Griffith Review and Best Summer Stories. Mirandi has a PhD in Creative Writing and Literary Studies and lives in Brisbane.

Reviews for Sunbirds

'Mirandi Riwoe has a talent for rich, evocative storytelling that illuminates moments in our shared history that have been overlooked or neglected. In Sunbirds, she turns her gaze on the inhabitants of a tea plantation in Java in the months leading up to the Japanese invasion of 1942. The complexities of colonisation play out in the lives of the people who live and work on the plantation, but Riwoe skilfully avoids judgement or stereotype in telling their stories. I loved this book, with its sensual language and delicate exploration of love, duty and ambition in a colonised land on the eve of invasion - it's historical fiction at its finest.' Pip Williams 'This riveting novel recreates the torpors and tension of a long-established imperial world about to be negated ... A thrilling and skilled narration of the finest quality.' Thomas Keneally 'Romantic and sweeping, while also clear-eyed about the human cost of colonisation. Sunbirds is a triumph.' Toni Jordan 'Reading a Mirandi Riwoe novel I feel the anticipation and delight of knowing I'm about to be transported, enriched and changed. She is a deeply moving storyteller. Her writing is dazzling.' Holly Ringland

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