The Starling God, by Tanya Sousa – Book Review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

The Starling God, by Tanya Sousa.
Old Hickory, TN, Forestry Press, March 2014, trade paperback $12.50 (269 pages), Kindle $9.99.51CE4mZ0mLL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_

“Trying to make sense of humanity’s quirky and often devastating behaviors, birds formed a religion complete with mythology, lore and fissured beliefs.

“The tenuous world-view of birds, and perhaps humans too, is about to be challenged by the coming of a Starling of Prophecy and the truth He is called to discover and ultimately share.” (back-cover blurb)

The Starling God is reminiscent of the 1972 novel Watership Down, by Richard Adams. That novel invented a religion and a language for its animal species, the rabbits, as The Starling God also creates a religion and language for birds. It is also reminiscent of the 1987 Japanese motion picture Gokiburi-tachi no Tasogare/Twilight of the Cockroaches, written and directed by Hiroaki Yoshida. That movie shows a detailed animal (or insect) religion based upon their belief of their relationship with humans, which turns out to be completely erroneous.

In the Prologue a nameless woman who is a wildlife rehabilitator, and who wears flower-print dresses, is called to a trailer park. One of its residents is distraught over the park management’s eradication of a starling’s nest. The woman takes three starling chicks home and nurses them. One fledgling survives, which she prepares to release back into the wild when it is old enough to fend for itself.

She takes the young starling outdoors for short practice flights around her yard, where she puts out food for birds. These include Dove L’al and his mate L’in, and a flock of redwing blackbirds led by Rem. L’al is a Teller, a religious leader who tells the birds who their God is and what she wants.

“Birds here called this God ‘Flower’ since she more often than not chose plumage to reflect their shapes and colors.” (p. 3)

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