The Wingless Bird
By Catherine Cookson
An Unabridged Edition, on 10 Audio Cassettes
Reviewed by Israel Drazin - March 17, 2010
Catherine Cookson weaved together half a dozen plots and produced a delightful novel. Two brothers are attracted to Agnes the first time that they see her in 1913 England, but one has the edge of having met her first. The brothers are from an upper-class long-established family that does not mix with lower classes, especially in marriage. The brothers' father is an ex-military man who could see his son marry into the lower class, but their mother is adamantly against such a union; she refuses to even meet Agnes. Agnes is an independent thinker, intelligent, and she speaks her mind; she stands up for herself against her own and the brothers' family. Her father is an adulterer and has been so since he married her mother; he overindulges in drink and is very gruff with all members of his family except for Agnes' older sister. Her parents' sexual life has been ruined because of the adultery and the home life of everyone is in shambles. Agnes' parents are hiding a secret. Agnes' older sister falls for a still-lower class man and her father refuses her permission to marry him, but her mother is open to the union; this is a reversal of the brothers' parents. The older sister becomes pregnant. War breaks out with Germany; one brother is in the Army; the other is a conscientious objector. Each plot alone is tantalizing; together they make a great story.
Dr. Israel Drazin is the author of fifteen books, including a series of five volumes on the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible, which he co-authors with Rabbi Dr. Stanley M. Wagner, and a series of four books on the twelfth century philosopher Moses Maimonides, the latest being Maimonides: Reason Above All, published by Gefen Publishing House, www.gefenpublishing.com. The Orthodox Union (OU) publishes daily samples of the Targum books on www.ouradio.org.