Lost Birds by Birute Putrius is very much a story of loss, change and the ability to adapt to both. Following a slew of displaced persons from Lithuania, Lost Birds tells the tale of what it means to feel an outsider in your home, your country and your overall life.
Putrius, a displaced person (DP) herself, relays the story from multiple perspectives so that the reader can see what it means to be a DP from all angles. Each chapter is told from a different viewpoint, and Putrius follows each of her characters from childhood into middle age. With this timelines, the reader grows up with the characters beginning from the moment they set foot in America.
Although at first the novel focuses primarily on what it means to leave your homeland and feel a foreigner in a new unknown place, the book quickly takes on even more issues that are pertinent not only to DPs, but to the human condition itself. Themes of acceptance, unrequited love, mental illness and spirituality all play a lead role at one point or another in the novel. Characters find and lose themselves as the years pass, and in the end, Putrius seems to be telling us that perhaps there’s no other way to live than to lose and find yourself over and over again.
Each character is interesting and engaging in her own way; however, the multiple changes in perspective and point of view can sometimes give the novel a bit of a disjointed feel, as if each chapter is its own short story, complete in itself. This aspect doesn’t detract from the overall emotionality of the novel or its arc, but it does call itself out often enough to distract the reader now and again.
Despite the intermittent disconnect between chapters, Lost Birds is a thrilling book that discusses issues not only relevant to displaced people of any kind, but to the condition of being human.
Published by Birchwood Press in December of 2015, Lost Birds is available at your local bookstore.
FTC Disclaimer: This book was given to me in return for a fair and honest review of the text.