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Pa­tri­cia-ann Young talks about: Lyre­bird by Ce­ceila Ah­ern, £7.99, Harper Collins


When you read a Ce­celia Ah­ern book, you know you’re in for some cheesi­ness, in fact, that’s maybe why you picked up the book in the first place. But un­less you have the pa­tience of a saint, Lyre­bird’s grat­ing cen­tral char­ac­ter and pseudo-philo­soph­i­cal look at so­ci­ety’s ob­ses­sion with fame will push you over the edge. The book cen­tres on Laura, the epony­mous Lyre­bird, who got the nick­name be­cause she can per­fectly imi­tate any sound she hears. Dis­cov­ered by a doc­u­men­tary team while il­le­gally liv­ing on a ru­ral farm in Ire­land, her tal­ent soon whisks her to the dizzy­ing heights of a TV tal­ent con­test. Ah­ern wants us to see Laura as some kind of un­worldly and ethe­real wood­land nymph type, but she reads more like your loopy co-worker you try to avoid on the tea round. With such an an­noy­ing pro­tag­o­nist, you’d rather this Lyre­bird would just put a sock in it.

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