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Fiction Family Life

In Search of the Perfect Singing Flamingo

by (author) Claire Tacon

Wolsak and Wynn Publishers Ltd
Initial publish date
May 2018
Family Life, Literary, Disabilities & Special Needs
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2018
    List Price
  • Downloadable audio file

    Publish Date
    Sep 2020
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2018
    List Price

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When Henry Robinson’s daughter Starr is born with Williams syndrome, he swears to devote his life to making her happy. More than twenty years later, Henry and Starr, along with Henry’s co-worker Darren, set off on an unexpected road trip as Henry strives to hold onto his daughter’s childhood and to hold off the future. In Search of the Perfect Singing Flamingo is a charming, tender and often funny story of a father struggling to let his daughters grow up and of a family struggling against hard odds, taking care of each other when the world lets them down.

About the author

Claire Tacon's first novel, In the Field, was the winner of the 2010 Metcalf-Rooke Award. Her fiction has been shortlisted for the Bronwen Wallace Award, the CBC Literary Prizes and the Playboy College Fiction Contest, and has appeared in journals and anthologies such as the New Quarterly, SubTerrain and Best Canadian Short Stories. She has an MFA in creative writing from the University of British Columbia and is a past fiction editor of PRISM international. Claire is a lecturer at St. Jerome's University and runs the fiction podcast The Oddments Tray with Chioke I'Anson.

Claire Tacon's profile page


  • Winner, Hamilton Reads

Editorial Reviews

"In her sophomore novel, Claire Tacon takes a gentle and measured approach to the story of one family's experience with Williams syndrome. [She] succeeds at making her characters, and their stories, touching and resonant."

Quill & Quire

"Tacon's writing is concise, nimble and precise [...] Every detail rings true . . . Tacon's skilfully integrated research and the specificity of the situations in which she places her characters work together to solidify her evocation of some very different social experiences."

Event Poetry and Prose

"Claire Tacon’s In Search of the Perfect Singing Flamingo is a nostalgic novel that, ironically, investigates the theme of accepting change. . . . The family novel is a joy to read."

University of Toronto Quarterly

"Everything Tacon summons here hums with energy and purpose, captured perhaps most starkly by the juxtaposition of the unexpected: so-called 'high' art alongside 'low' art, classic literature allusions rubbing elbows with contemporary luminaries and, not to be forgotten, a pair of innocently smuggled turtles who unwittingly cause all kinds of problems."

FreeFall Magazine

"The plot twists here are hilarious and hopeful, even through excellently drawn, spine-tingling conflicts. Dialogue is snappy, and inner monologues humanize the characters, even as they make decisions with bad consequences. Life with Williams Syndrome is explored with nuance."

Foreword Reviews

"I loved this book. A novel with this many first-person points of view is an ambitious one, but Tacon lives up to the challenge. She gives each of her characters such rich and rewarding back-stories, occupations, and preoccupations – each one enough to fill a book on its own. And as the story progresses, it becomes clear how connected everything is, how multifaceted the symbolism is. This is not a book about Starr, about disability, about a road trip, about an animatronic rat – but instead, it’s about relationships and intersections, and the incredible interconnectedness of all our lives and the things we love, and the ramifications of our behaviour on others that we might fail to consider. It’s about making safe spaces in the world so that Henry can send Starr out into it with assurance that she is valued and included. It’s a novel about trust, in ourselves, in society, and each other. And it’s a triumph."

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