Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Birds of the Nile by N.E. David

Hello bookworms,

            First of all, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! I hope you all had very merry Christmases and happy new years celebrations! This year there are going to be reviews, interviews, interest articles, and more! In between my classes and internship I will be reading, reading, reading! I hope you all will be reading too!

            I personally have begun the Goodreads reading challenge for 2014 and have pledged to read 25 books! J I hope I can make the goal and will update you on my progress. But for now, let’s look at the first review on the new year! Birds of the Nile by N.E. David


            Michael Blake has had a long career with the British embassy, but now he is turning 60 and must retire. This isn’t really what Blake had planned for. He knew it was coming yet he hadn’t really planned for all the extra time. So, to help pass the time, Blake decides to take a boat trip up the Nile and do some bird watching.

            Blake did not expect to become attached to anyone on this boat trip, least of all a Malaysian girl in her twenties…but he did in a BIG way. Michael Blake who has done his best not to get overly involved in the affairs of others is about to find himself right in the middle of a bloody political uprising all in the hopes of seeing travelling twenty-something smile.


            Birds of the Nile is not my usual type of book. It has heavy political themes and is set in the modern day. However, I was interested in giving it a try.

            For those who love to travel or bird watch Birds of the Nile may be of interest to you. Nick (the “N” in author N.E. David, for those who don’t know ;) ) describes the Egyptian landscape, landmarks, and exotic birds of the Nile area in a way that I think will be fun for travellers and bird-watchers. Not to mention that ninety percent of the book takes place aboard the cruise ship (which may also appeal to travellers and those who have taken long boat trips before).

            There is a wonderful cast of characters including Blake, Carpenter, Miss Malaysia, Reda Eldasouky, Ira and Mrs. Biltmore, Joan, David, Janet, Keith, and many more. And the thoughts that go through Mr. Blake’s head as he encounters the ships passengers and all their eccentricities models what many people think in real life. (Which I think is a particular specialty of Mr. David’s).

            I do have one major complaint in reference to a particular character. Mrs. Biltmore from Baltimore. She and her husband Ira Biltmore are the only Americans in Mr. David’s story (no that’s not the complaint J I’m about to explain). It seemed to me that, in many parts of the book, N. E. David went out of his way to write hateful comments in reference to Mrs. Biltmore. He ridicules her appearance, makes her an annoying character for much of the book, and makes many statements to the effect that her husband Ira is pretty much whipped and subjective to her every whim. That being said, I understand that there are people like this everywhere, including America (I’ve met a few myself), but it seems that out of all his characters N.E. David particularly attacks the American couple, especially the wife. When he gives reference to them, his writing, at times, takes a tone of disgust. While the character Michael Blake first feels superior to many including his own countrymen, he seems to accept all the other characters, but there is always a certain tone towards the American couple. Not to mention that every time America as a country is mentioned it is mentioned in a negative light. As an American woman myself I have to admit that several times I was offended and hurt by the comments. I like Mr. David and his stories and I hope this does not reflect his attitude towards Americans in general. Every person, American or otherwise, has a right to be accepted or not by others on a case by case basis rather than to be totally rejected by any failings of their counterparts.  (I’ll get off my soapbox now ;) )

            Mr. David told me in an interview once that his inspiration comes from what he sees around him such as a newspaper article about a WWII soldier’s bag that was found with a letter inside. To write about things that actually happen in life in a story format is a style of writing that N.E. David seems to enjoy. That being said I think he can be proud of this novel because he has done just that. BIRDS OF THE NILE is available for e-readers and in paperback online and in stores.



Until next time,

            Lizzie <3

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