Nominated by:

Calgary Public Library, Canada

Toronto Public Library, Canada

Publisher of nominated edition:

HarperCollins Canada

The Evening Chorus

Helen Humphreys    

Resigned to living out the Second World War in a German POW camp, James Hunter, an English officer, begins studying a pair of redstarts near the camp. His interest in the birds captures the attention of the Kommandant and gives James cause to fear for his life. Meanwhile, back in England, James’s young wife, Rose, falls headlong into a passionate affair with another man. When James’s sister, Enid, is bombed out of her London flat, she comes to stay with Rose, and the two women form a surprising friendship that alters the course of both of their lives.

With wonderfully developed characters, exquisitely shaped by and reflected in the natural world, The Evening Chorus is a brilliant, beautiful evocation of place and a natural history of both the war and the human heart.

(from publisher)

About the Author

Helen Humphreys is the author of four books of poetry, six novels, and two works of creative non-fiction. Her novel, Wild Dogs won the Lambda Prize for fiction, has been optioned for film, and was produced as a stage play. Coventry was a national bestseller and was shortlisted for the Trillium Book Award and the Canadian Authors Association Award for Fiction. It was also a New York Times Editors’ Choice. The Reinvention of Love was longlisted for the Dublin Impac Literary Award and shortlisted for the Canadian Authors Association Award for Fiction. The Evening Chorus is her latest novel. The recipient of the Harbourfront Festival Prize for literary excellence, Humphreys lives in Kingston, Ontario.

Librarians’ Comments

There has been a lot written about World War 2, but this book provides a fresh and evocative perspective. With wonderfully developed characters and beautiful prose, the novel is a beautiful evocation of place, natural history, the war and human emotions.

In spare and elegant prose, Helen Humphreys relates a tale of the dislocations, separations and losses caused by war. Yet in the end, the novel offers compensation and a glimpse at the durability of the human spirit, as each of the characters ultimately find comfort, even redemption, in the beauty and constancy of the natural world.

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