FeaturedContemporary Fiction

COMFREY, WYOMING: Birds of a Feather

By

Loved it! 😍

A whirlwind journey of discovery, acceptance, grief and love, Birkmyer explores the essence of human relationships in this exciting novel.

We follow Heidi’s story as personal trauma pushes her towards (what she expects to be) a simpler life without luxuries in Wyoming. Then, through chance encounters, unexpected relationships blossom, with each character bringing a fresh take to the narrative. Twists and turns in the form of self-doubt, trauma, assurance and love sweep you up like the winds by the lake in Comfrey, and Birkmyer’s ambitious narrative traces everything from friendships to parenthood. Unexpected but compelling, Comfrey, Wyoming takes a sensitive approach to exploring many complexities of humanity and our relationships to one another.  


My favourite part of this book were the characters and how Birkmyer’s narrative style made them all the more interesting. Narrated in the third person, we receive both information about the characters and about their consciousness, giving extra insights into their personalities and making them both relatable and individual. They have their own voices and thoughts, which tackles their stories in a sensitive way. We are not told one set version of events, but can make up our own judgements. This, balanced with Birkmyer’s evocative descriptions of the landscape, imagery and symbolism she uses makes the novel a rich and beautiful work.  

 

The only weakness of this book is perhaps in its ambition itself. It covers topics spanning from trans issues to parenthood to death, trauma, abuse and many other deeply triggering topics. While this does reflect the unfortunate truth of humanity, and that everyone has their own story, it feels like Birkmyer is often on the verge of something truly sensational and brilliant in her careful narrative and interesting characters, yet by trying to fit so much in, inevitably stops just short of going into the depth to create something incredible.   


I was excited to find out that this was the first in the Comfrey, Wyoming series, and I think there are yet still many more avenues that the story can follow. I would recommend this book for anyone who wants an approach to society that is in its essence truthful and humbling. It’s delicately written, appreciates different cultures and choices, while never brushing over the truth about living in a world that is, by nature, prejudiced. It’s a worthy read.   

Reviewed by

I'm Helen, a book-lover who graduated in English Literature from the University of Manchester. I'm as keen a reader as I am reviewer, and enjoy analysing books I read as much as the joy of following the story itself. I hope to inspire and encourage others to read more.

About the author

Daphne Birkmyer was born overseas and currently lives in the Napa Valley. Her degrees in biology continue to exert their influence on her written work. She lives with her family and other animals and is currently working on book 2 of the comfrey Wyoming series view profile

Published on December 10, 2020

Published by Atomosphere Press

110000 words

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Reviewed by