Kate, a somewhat clumsy widow of thirty-two, flees her stifling hometown on Vancouver Island to live alone on an even smaller island in the Salish Sea. In so doing, she has vague expectations of solace and sanctuary, despite past experience. Instead she meets Ivy, a woman who through their conversations transports her to the intoxicating world of 1926 Cuba. Within the context of their friendship, Ivy’s past begins to unravel from a long-held silence, just as Kate finds herself confronting her relationship with the colourful community she’s known all her life, along with an unexpected visitor who threatens to remove all peace from her chosen refuge.
Told from the perspectives of three narrators: Ivy, Kate, and Kate’s mother Nora, FISHING FOR BIRDS is a novel that juxtaposes the expectations we cling to so fiercely and the unexpected and sometimes unconventional things that turn up. The novel challenges traditional constructs of time, ethnicity, and relationship. Set against the tropical beauty of 1920s Cuba and the Northwest Coast of contemporary time, both the landscape and unique character of island life underscore the experiences of three very different women.