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Fiction Literary

The Blackbird's Song

by (author) Pauline Holdstock

Cormorant Books
Initial publish date
Nov 2005
Literary, Political, Historical
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jan 1987
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2005
    List Price

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It is June 1900. The Boxer slogan, “Exterminate the Foreigner”, haunts Emily, William and Martha as they flee for their lives, victims already of their own private obsessions, their faith shaken when they need it most, with only one another to count on for survival.


Holdstock’s skillful and intriguing use of flashbacks and shifting focus, and her extraordinary evocation of character and atmosphere, provide the reader with an inspired insight into what differentiates the East from the West.

About the author

Born in England, Pauline Holdstock came to Canada in 1974. Her first novel, The Blackbird's Song, was a finalist in the WH Smith/Books in Canada First Novel Award in 1987. Her 2004 novel Beyond Measure was nominated for the Giller Prize. Her writing has appeared in Exile, Event, Grain, NeWest Review, Malahat Review, Flare and Antigonish Review among others. She lives in Sidney on Vancouver Island.

Pauline Holdstock's profile page


  • Short-listed, <i>Books in Canada</i> First Novel Award

Editorial Reviews

“What stays with the reader is the evocative beauty of Holdstock’s prose, her skill at detailing gesture, mood and perception, her gift for creating characters whose relationships are dramatic rather than static.”

Books in Canada

“Brilliant … examines questions of faith, meaning and power; her investigation of these issues is profound and beautifully paced, so that despite the intensity of the subject, the momentum of the narratve never falters, the evocation of place and time having an almost cinematic immediacy.”

The Times

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