The title for this story evolved from a telephone conversation between Marion Halligan and Carmel Bird. Other phrases also offered themselves in the conversation. Each writer then conceived and wrote a story based around the phrases and images discussed.
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Enter the world of a murdered socialite, be consumed by rural madness, be ignited by the longings of an obsessive optometrist, engrossed by unorthodox book-binding, and moved by a heartbreaking meditation on the Oklahoma bombings. With its bewitching language, full of subtle harmonies and rhythms, The Essential Bird takes the reader on a voyage that delights, amazes and fascinates. Carmel Bird weaves fact, fantasy and history into a shimmering fabric of fiction that creates a world of hyper-reality both tender and profound. (Source: back cover)