Stephanie Parkyn, in The Freedom of Birds has written an Historical Fiction of great accuracy and with many a fascinating sideline. She is passionate about ideas of “freedom and independence in times of societal change”. She has chosen to write a story during the time of the demise of Napoleon’s Empire. The scene in Europe at that time is one of distrust and poverty for many. Within that atmosphere, a group of young story tellers and an acrobat bring comfort and respite for those under threat.
Remi and his dear friend Pascal were both given away as babies. They were taken in by a kindly man who ran a theatre in Paris. Here they were trained in many arts; Pascal was a costume maker and designer, and Remi was a budding storyteller. An unfortunate event saw the pair leave the theatre and begin a journey to find a place of their own. Along the way they entertained people with story and song, earing just enough to keep moving. They were joined by Saskia, a runaway orphan, who added her talent to their troupe.
This is a time of distrust and fear. As they moved out of Paris, they find that anyone with a French accent is instantly suspected of evil deeds. The trio, who had grown closer during their travels, finished up in Venice. They discovered that their stories are not the only ones circulating through the masses. The brothers Grimm had begun to collect the tales they will eventually have published.
This Historical glimpse into a past world reveals that Napoleon banned many art forms, fearing they may incite national pride. In Venice, among other things, he banned the Carnevale. This was to no avail as his empire was doomed. The lives of these three young people in their time are fascinating.
|Publisher||Allen & Unwin|
|Distributor||Allen & Unwin|