Birdsong PDF Free Download

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The church bell was tolling and from the garden there was again the sound of birds. With the noise in his ears he fell asleep and dreamed a dream that was a variation of one he had had all his life. He was trying to help a trapped bird out of a window. Rootless and heartbroken Stephen Wraysford joins the army at the outbreak of World War I. He and his men are given the assignment to tunnel under the German lines and set off bombs. The comaraderie, love, and loyalty of the soldiers contrasts with the horrors of the underground, air, and trench warfare.

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  • Publisher : Random House
  • Release : 2010-02-23
  • Pages : 528
  • ISBN : 140705256X
  • Language : En, Es, Fr & De

Birdsong is a mesmerising story of love and war spanning three generations between WW1 and present day. THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER 1910. Amiens, Northern France. Stephen Wraysford, a young Englishman, arrives in the French city to stay with the Azaire family. He falls in love with unhappily married Isabelle and the two enter a tempestuous love affair. But, with the world on the brink of war, the relationship falters. With his love for Isabelle forever engraved on his heart, Stephen volunteers to fight on the Western Front and enters the unimaginable dark world beneath the trenches of No Man's Land. From award-winning writer Sebastian Faulks, Birdsong is an exceptionally moving and unforgettable portrait of the ruthlessness of war and the indestructability of love. 'Magnificent - deeply moving' Sunday Times ---- Also available by Sebastian Faulks as part of the French trilogy series: The Girl at the Lion d'Or Charlotte Gray


  • Publisher : Simon and Schuster
  • Release : 2007-11-01
  • Pages : 272
  • ISBN : 9781416590415
  • Language : En, Es, Fr & De

Following one of the world's experts on birdsong from the woods of Martha's Vineyard to the tropical forests of Central America, Don Stap brings to life the quest to unravel an ancient mystery: Why do birds sing and what do their songs mean? We quickly discover that one question leads to another. Why does the chestnut-sided warbler sing one song before dawn and another after sunrise? Why does the brown thrasher have a repertoire of two thousand songs when the chipping sparrow has only one? And how is the hermit thrush able to sing a duet with itself, producing two sounds simultaneously to create its beautiful, flutelike melody? Stap's lucid prose distills the complexities of the study of birdsong and unveils a remarkable discovery that sheds light on the mystery of mysteries: why young birds in the suborder oscines -- the 'true songbirds' -- learn their songs but the closely related suboscines are born with their songs genetically encoded. As the story unfolds, Stap contemplates our enduring fascination with birdsong, from ancient pictographs and early Greek soothsayers, who knew that bird calls represented the voices of the gods, to the story of Mozart's pet starling. In a modern, noisy world, it is increasingly difficult to hear those voices of the gods. Exploring birdsong takes us to that rare place -- in danger of disappearing forever -- where one hears only the planet's oldest music.

Birdsong for the Curious Naturalist

  • Publisher : Houghton Mifflin
  • Release : 2020
  • Pages : 208
  • ISBN : 1328919110
  • Language : En, Es, Fr & De

Birdsong Pdf free. download full

Birdsong made easy to understand, lavishly illustrated with color photos, and accompanied by more than 700 online recordings From a leading expert, Birdsong for the Curious Naturalist is a basic, how-to guide that teaches anyone--from beginner to advanced birder--how to listen. In understandable and appealing language, Kroodsma explains why and how birds sing, what various calls mean, and what to listen for from the birds around us. The descriptions are accompanied by color photos of the birds, as well as QR codes that link to an online collection of more than 700 recordings. With these resources, readers are prepared to recognize bird sounds and the birds that make them. Kroodsma encourages readers to find the joy of birdsong and curiosity--to observe, listen intently, be curious, ask questions, and realize that many unanswered questions about birdsong don't have to rely on scientists for answers but can be answered by any curious naturalist.


  • Publisher : Xlibris Corporation
  • Release : 2015-02-28
  • Pages : 122
  • ISBN : 1503545466
  • Language : En, Es, Fr & De

Birdkit was a runt. Her father hated her, and Oakstar denied apprenticeship to her. Then under mysterious circumstances, she woke up in a Twoleg den after a Starclan cat came to her in a dream. Will she manage to get back to Oakclan? And if she does, will she finally be accepted? Oakclan is in the middle of a coniferous forest. There are no other clans nearby, and the gathering is more of a time where news is shared and reported. Their camp is settled in a grove of oak trees, hence, the name Oakclan.


  • Publisher : Bloomsbury Publishing
  • Release : 2010-10-01
  • Pages : 88
  • ISBN : 1849439311
  • Language : En, Es, Fr & De

While staying as the guest of a factory owner in pre-First World War France, Stephen Wraysford embarks on a passionate affair with Isabelle, the wife of his host. The affair changes them both for ever.A few years later Stephen finds himself back in the same part of France, but this time as a soldier in the Battle of the Somme, the bloodiest encounter in British military history. As his men die around him, Stephen turns to his enduring love for Isabelle for the strength to continue and to save something for future generations. For the first time, this beautiful and terrible story about love, courage and the endurance of the human spirit is brought to the stage in a version by Rachel Wagstaff, directed by famed director Trevor Nunn.

Is Birdsong Music?

Outback Encounters with an Australian Songbird

byHollis Taylor

  • Publisher : Indiana University Press
  • Release : 2017-05-01
  • Pages : 364
  • ISBN : 0253026482
  • Language : En, Es, Fr & De

How and when does music become possible? Is it a matter of biology, or culture, or an interaction between the two? Revolutionizing the way we think about the core values of music and human exceptionalism, Hollis Taylor takes us on an outback road trip to meet the Australian pied butcherbird. Recognized for their distinct timbre, calls, and songs, both sexes of this songbird sing in duos, trios, and even larger choirs, transforming their flute-like songs annually. While birdsong has long inspired artists, writers, musicians, and philosophers, and enthralled listeners from all walks of life, researchers from the sciences have dominated its study. As a field musicologist, Taylor spends months each year in the Australian outback recording the songs of the pied butcherbird and chronicling their musical activities. She argues persuasively in these pages that their inventiveness in song surpasses biological necessity, compelling us to question the foundations of music and confront the remarkably entangled relationship between human and animal worlds. Equal parts nature essay, memoir, and scholarship, Is Birdsong Music? offers vivid portraits of the extreme locations where these avian choristers are found, quirky stories from the field, and an in-depth exploration of the vocalizations of the pied butcherbird.

The Physics of Birdsong

  • Publisher : Springer Science & Business Media
  • Release : 2006-03-30
  • Pages : 158
  • ISBN : 3540282491
  • Language : En, Es, Fr & De

Detailed report on a topic that has already attracted much popular interest. Provides fascinating reading for physicists, biologists and general readers alike.

Birdsong, Speech, and Language

Exploring the Evolution of Mind and Brain

byJohan J. Bolhuis,Martin Everaert

  • Publisher : MIT Press
  • Release : 2013-03-22
  • Pages : 560
  • ISBN : 0262313839
  • Language : En, Es, Fr & De

Prominent scholars consider the cognitive and neural similarities between birdsong and human speech and language. Scholars have long been captivated by the parallels between birdsong and human speech and language. In this book, leading scholars draw on the latest research to explore what birdsong can tell us about the biology of human speech and language and the consequences for evolutionary biology. After outlining the basic issues involved in the study of both language and evolution, the contributors compare birdsong and language in terms of acquisition, recursion, and core structural properties, and then examine the neurobiology of song and speech, genomic factors, and the emergence and evolution of language. Contributors Hermann Ackermann, Gabriël J.L. Beckers, Robert C. Berwick, Johan J. Bolhuis, Noam Chomsky, Frank Eisner, Martin Everaert, Michale S. Fee, Olga Fehér, Simon E. Fisher, W. Tecumseh Fitch, Jonathan B. Fritz, Sharon M.H. Gobes, Riny Huijbregts, Eric Jarvis, Robert Lachlan, Ann Law, Michael A. Long, Gary F. Marcus, Carolyn McGettigan, Daniel Mietchen, Richard Mooney, Sanne Moorman, Kazuo Okanoya, Christophe Pallier, Irene M. Pepperberg, Jonathan F. Prather, Franck Ramus, Eric Reuland, Constance Scharff, Sophie K. Scott, Neil Smith, Ofer Tchernichovski, Carel ten Cate, Christopher K. Thompson, Frank Wijnen, Moira Yip, Wolfram Ziegler, Willem Zuidema

Birdsong in a Time of Silence

  • Publisher : Penguin UK
  • Release : 2021-03-04
  • Pages : 160
  • ISBN : 0241493021
  • Language : En, Es, Fr & De

A lyrical celebration of birdsong, and the rekindling of a deep passion for nature. 'At this time of year, blackbirds never simply fly: instead, like reluctantly retired officers, they're always 'on manoeuvres', and it's easy to see from their constant agitation that for them every flower bed is a bunker, every shed a redoubt and every hedge-bottom a potential place of ambush' As the world went silent in lockdown, something else happened; for the first time, many of us started becoming more aware of the spring sounds of the birds around us. Birdsong in a Time of Silence is a lyrical, uplifting reflection on these sounds and what they mean to us. From a portrait of the blackbird - most prominent and articulate of the early spring singers - to explorations of how birds sing, the science behind their choice of song and nest-sites, and the varied meanings that people have brought to and taken from birdsong, this book ultimately shows that natural history and human history cannot be separated. It is the story of a collective reawakening brought on by the strangest of springs.

Sebastian Faulks's Birdsong

  • Publisher : A&C Black
  • Release : 2002-06-26
  • Pages : 92
  • ISBN : 0826453236
  • Language : En, Es, Fr & De

The 'Continuum Contemporaries' series is designed as a source of ideas and inspiration for members of book clubs and literature students at school, college and university. It aims to give readers informative introductions to 30 of the most popular, acclaimed and influential novels of recent years.

Birdsong for the Curious Naturalist

Birdsong PDF Free Download

  • Publisher : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Release : 2020-03-10
  • Pages : 208
  • ISBN : 1328919137
  • Language : En, Es, Fr & De

Birdsong made easy to understand, lavishly illustrated with color photos, and accompanied by more than 700 online recordings From a leading expert, Birdsong for the Curious Naturalist is a basic, how-to guide that teaches anyone—from beginner to advanced birder—how to listen. In understandable and appealing language, Kroodsma explains why and how birds sing, what various calls mean, and what to listen for from the birds around us. The descriptions are accompanied by color photos of the birds, as well as QR codes that link to an online collection of more than 700 recordings. With these resources, readers are prepared to recognize bird sounds and the birds that make them. Kroodsma encourages readers to find the joy of birdsong and curiosity—to observe, listen intently, be curious, ask questions, and realize that many unanswered questions about birdsong don’t have to rely on scientists for answers but can be answered by any curious naturalist.

The American Fox-Hound - Embracing a History of the Celebrated Trigg, Birdsong and Maupin Strains

  • Publisher : Read Books Ltd
  • Release : 2016-12-09
  • Pages : 108
  • ISBN : 1473346959
  • Language : En, Es, Fr & De

This vintage book contains a comprehensive guide to American fox hunting, with historical details, information on notable packs, descriptions of hounds and their different types, information on famous meetings and events, and much more. This book highly recommended for those with an interest in the history of American fox hunting, and would make for a fantastic addition to collections of allied literature. Contents include: 'Red Fox Horn', 'The Chase', 'Business', 'Old and Modern Hounds', 'Gray Fox Horn', 'George L. F. Birdsong', 'Uncle Wash' Maupin', 'Birdsong and Maupin Dogs', 'Letters from Famous Hunters', 'Dicks Dog', 'Jake', 'Annie', 'H. C. Trigg's Residence', 'National Meet', 'Buying and Selling', etc. This book was first published in 1890 and many vintage books such as this are increasingly scarce and expensive. We are republishing this volume now in an affordable, high-quality edition complete with a specially commissioned new introduction on the foxhound.

Wilhelm Raabe: ‘The Birdsong Papers’

  • Publisher : MHRA
  • Release : 2013-10-01
  • Pages : 156
  • ISBN : 1781880360
  • Language : En, Es, Fr & De

Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:'Table Normal'; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:'; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;} The Birdsong Papers, which appeared in 1896 as Die Akten des Vogelsangs, was Wilhelm Raabe’s next-to-last completed narrative. What might be called an anti-Bildungsroman, it is widely considered to be the work that secures Raabe’s place as a precursor of German modernist fiction writers. Its tone is critical of late-nineteenth-century society, both German and American, with its industrial expansion, urbanization, pursuit of wealth, and erosion of conventional values; but this critical tone also produces an uneasy tension for its narrator, Karl Krumhardt, a high-ranking bureaucrat with a stake in the stability of that society. It is against that social-critical background that Krumhardt’s Papers record a coming to terms with a subject – his longtime friend Velten Andres – whose life both fascinates and profoundly unsettles him. Velten is intelligent, imaginative, idealistic, and full of promise; but he cares nothing about his gifts, chooses self-imposed seclusion over conformity, and carries his individualism to what Jeffrey L. Sammons calls ‘a kind of spectacular irrelevance in the conduct of life’. With this translation of Die Akten des Vogelsangs, the first into English, a major work by one of the most respected German writers of the nineteenth century is made accessible to a new, international readership.

The Neuroethology of Birdsong

A Book

byJon T. Sakata,Sarah C. Woolley,Richard R. Fay,Arthur N. Popper

  • Publisher : Springer Nature
  • Release : 2020-03-19
  • Pages : 268
  • ISBN : 3030346838
  • Language : En, Es, Fr & De

Vocal signals are central for social communication across a wide range of vertebrate species; consequently, it is critical to understand the mechanisms underlying the learning, control, and evolution of vocal communication. Songbirds are at the forefront of research into such neural mechanisms. Indeed, songbirds provide a particularly important model system for this endeavor because of the many parallels between birdsong and human speech. Specifically, (1) songbirds are one of the few vertebrate species that, like humans, learn their vocal signals during development, (2) the processes of song learning and control in songbirds shares many parallels with the process of speech acquisition in humans, and (3) there exist deep homologies between the circuits for the learning, control, and processing of vocal signals across songbirds and humans. In addition, because of the diversity of songbirds and song learning strategies, songbirds offer a powerful model system to use the comparative method to reveal mechanisms underlying the evolution of song learning and production. Taken together, research on songbirds can not only reveal general principles underlying vertebrate vocal communication but can also provide insight into potential mechanisms underlying the learning, control, and processing of speech. This volume will cover a range of topics in birdsong spanning multiple level of analysis. Chapters will be authored by the world’s leading experts on birdsong and will provide comprehensive reviews of the processes underlying song learning, of the neural circuits for song learning and control as well as for the extraction and processing of song information, of the selection pressures underlying song evolution, and of genetic and molecular mechanisms underlying the learning and evolution of song. The primary goals of this volume are to provide comprehensive, integrative, and comparative perspectives on birdsong and to underscore the importance of birdsong to biomedical research, evolutionary biology, and behavioral, systems, and computational neuroscience.The target audience of this volume will be graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and established academics and neuroscientists who are interested in mechanisms of communication from an integrative and comparative perspective. The volume is intended to function as a high-profile and contemporary reference on current work related to the learning, control, processing, and evolution of birdsong. This volume will have broad appeal to comparative and sensory biologists, neurophysiologists, and behavioral, systems, and cognitive neuroscientists who attend meetings such as the Society for Neuroscience, the International Society for Neuroethology, and the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology. Because of the relevance of birdsong research to understanding human speech, it is likely that the volume will also be of interest to speech researchers and clinicians researching communication, motor, and sensory processing disorders.

Birdsong by the Seasons

  • Publisher : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Release : 2015-08-11
  • Pages : 384
  • ISBN : 0544764226
  • Language : En, Es, Fr & De

A multimedia experience that lets you look at—and listen to—birds in a whole new way! Birdsong by the Seasons is a celebration of birdsong from January through December. The stories begin with a pileated woodpecker on New Year’s Day; they unfold through the year, covering Florida’s limpkins and scrub-jays in February, prairie birds in May, scarlet tanagers in July, and a chorus of singing birds in Massachusetts just before Christmas. With this book, the acclaimed author of The Singing Life of Birds—a winner of the John Burroughs Medal—provides a unique experience: with his gentle guidance, the pairing of sonograms with the audio makes birdsong accessible and fascinating. This Kindle ebook contains embedded audio files. This audio content will only play on Kindle Fire tablets (excluding the Kindle Fire 1st Generation) and iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch devices. It cannot be accessed on Kindle e-readers (including the Kindle, Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Touch, and Kindle Voyage) or on Kindle reading apps on other tablets or computers.

The Unsung Hero of Birdsong, USA

  • Publisher : Penguin
  • Release : 2019-01-08
  • Pages : 208
  • ISBN : 1524737100
  • Language : En, Es, Fr & De

The Coretta Scott King Honor-winning author tells the moving story of the friendship between a young white boy and a Black WWII veteran who has recently returned to the unwelcoming Jim Crow South. On Gabriel's twelfth birthday, he gets a new bike--and is so excited that he accidentally rides it right into the path of a car. Fortunately, a Black man named Meriwether pushes him out of the way just in time, and fixes his damaged bike. As a thank you, Gabriel gets him a job at his dad's auto shop. Gabriel's dad hires him with some hesitation, however, anticipating trouble with the other mechanic, who makes no secret of his racist opinions. Gabriel and Meriwether become friends, and Gabriel learns that Meriwether drove a tank in the Army's all-Black 761st Tank Battalion in WWII. Meriwether is proud of his service, but has to keep it a secret because talking about it could be dangerous. Sadly, danger finds Meriwether, anyway, when his family receives a frightening threat. The South being the way it is, there's no guarantee that the police will help--and Gabriel doesn't know what will happen if Meriwether feels forced to take the law into his own hands.

Sweeter Than Birdsong

  • Publisher : Thomas Nelson Inc
  • Release : 2012-02-07
  • Pages : 400
  • ISBN : 159554786X
  • Language : En, Es, Fr & De

Ben Hansby is determined to cast a young student, Kate Winter, in his musical as he guards his participation in the Underground Railroad, while Kate is determined to use the musical to flee from her mother's determination to marry her off to a wealthy suitor.

RSPB Guide to Birdsong

  • Publisher : Bloomsbury Publishing
  • Release : 2019-04-04
  • Pages : 256
  • ISBN : 1472955889
  • Language : En, Es, Fr & De

Birdsong Pdf Free Download Windows 10


Birdsong Pdf Free Download Free

Birdsong is the natural soundtrack to our lives and can evoke a powerful sense of time, place and season. Often profoundly beautiful, it is also the most effective way to discover many birds, and birds' songs and calls reveal much about their lives and behaviour. However, identifying which bird is making which sound can seem challenging. With this groundbreaking and easy-to-use guide, Adrian Thomas helps you learn and identify bird sounds step by step and at your own pace. Whether you are an experienced birdwatcher or just enjoy hearing the birds in your garden, this new guide will open your ears like never before to the amazing songs and calls around you. - Includes a sound guide to more than 100 songs and calls of 65 garden, woodland and farmland birds - A reference section describes in detail the sounds of a further 185 birds of Britain and north-west Europe - Beautiful colour photographs, annotated sonograms and 'test yourself' sections are also included - The 74-minute narrated recording can also be downloaded to listen to on the go Please note that the audio content will only play on devices that support this function; the Kindle Edition with Audio/Video is only compatible with the Kindle for iPad, iPhone or iPad Touch app. A transcript has been provided for those who cannot listen to the audio on their device and a complimentary digital download of the soundtrack has also been made available. Further details on how to access the complimentary digital download can be found inside the book.


A Dawn with no Birdsong

  • Publisher : Boolarong Press
  • Release : 2021
  • Pages : 252
  • ISBN : 1925522814
  • Language : En, Es, Fr & De

The Western Front, 1917, a place closer to hell than any man has ever been. German forces are overrunning the British and Australian lines and Alex Ray, a young soldier assigned to dig tunnels beneath the enemy’s lines in order to destroy them with explosives, is left with two choices: to remain, fight and almost certainly die along with his two closest friends who have already been killed, or to flee from the front in a desperate attempt to fulfil a promise to save a French family including a young woman, Lisle Raimond, to whom Alex has become closely attached. Alex knows that his agonising decision will almost certainly cost him his life, no matter what he chooses to do. Inspired by the true events surrounding the executions of British Empire soldiers during the First World War, this is the story of a struggle for survival when it is not the enemy who are your greatest foes, it is the very people for whom you are fighting. Carefully crafted and with a deep understanding of what life was like in the trenches during that terrible period, Tony Matthews’ powerful and emotionally charged new novel, A Dawn with no Birdsong, takes us back in time with rare clarity, deep compassion and an enviable beauty of expression.

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An Absence of Birdsong

  • Publisher :
  • Release : 2016-06-01
  • Pages : 190
  • ISBN : 1326606115
  • Language : En, Es, Fr & De

Birdsong Pdf Free Download Windows 7

SECRETS, LIES AND A MIND-BLOWING REVELATION. Emma grew up believing that her grandmother was dead. 1915 - Eliza's mother, Alice, dies before she can tell her how to solve the coded letters, hidden in a secret compartment in her bureau. The letters which will tell Eliza 'the truth'. 2004 - Eliza, in a nursing home in Southport, tells her solicitor that she has a granddaughter called Emma and needs her help with locating the coded letters. Emma, anxious to leave Malta and return to England, receives a puzzling letter from Eliza's solicitor, asking her to return to Southport, the town where she lived as a child. Why did Emma's parents tell her Eliza was dead? What secret is hidden in the coded sheets? 'An Absence of Birdsong' is a story about the importance of love, family and forgiveness. And also about moving on.

“Solidly plotted, vividly imagined, with a forgiving, God’s-eye view of human frailty.… This strenuous and poignant effort to shore up memory deserves our gratitude.”
“A contemporary novel that … earns a place on the shelf with true literature.… Superb storytelling and craftsmanship.”
“The power of Faulks’s novel … comes as much from its intensely physical realization of life, as from its evocation of death.… He is Flaubert in the trenches.”
—The New Yorker
“Powerful and well-paced … an excellent literary introduction to the Great War.”
—Philadelphia Inquirer
“The sensuous, affective surfaces, the details, the fully imagined physicality of life and death are so powerful as to be almost unbearable … a tribute to the author’s remarkable skill and tact, and, at moments, dazzling virtuosity.”
—Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Magnificent—gorgeously written, deeply moving, rich in detail.”
—The Times (London)
“A brilliant, harrowing tale of love and war.”
—Observer (London)
“An amazing book—among the most stirringly erotic I have read for years.… I have read it and re-read it and can think of no other novel for many, many years that has so moved me or stimulated in me so much reflection on the human spirit.”
—Quentin Crewe, Daily Mail (London)
“This book is so powerful that as I finished it I turned to the front to start again.”
—Andrew James, Sunday Express (London)
“Devastating … a considerable addition to the fin-de-siècle flowering of first world war literature. Read it.”
—Penelope Lively, Spectator
“This is literature at its very best: a book with the power to reveal the unimagined, so that one’s life is set in a changed context. I urge you to read it.”
—Nigel Watts, Time Out (London)
“The astonishingly tense night before the scheduled Somme attack bears comparison with the eve of Agincourt in Shakespeare’s Henry V.… This is indeed fiction of the highest class, deeply impressive, continually moving.”
—Country Life
Copyright © 1993 by Sebastian Faulks
All rights reserved under International and Pan-American
Copyright Conventions. Published in the United States by Vintage Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York, and simultaneously in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto.
Originally published in the United States in hardcover by
Random House, Inc., New York, in 1996. Originally published in the United Kingdom by Hutchinson, a division of
Random House UK, London, in 1993.
The Library of Congress has cataloged the Random House edition as follows:
Faulks, Sebastian.
Birdsong / Sebastian Faulks.—1st ed.
p. cm.
eISBN: 978-0-307-82038-9
1. World War, 1914–1918—Fiction. I. Title.
PR6056.A89B57 1996
823′.914—dc20 95–23721
Author photograph © Jerry Bauer
Cover artwork © 2012 WTTV Limited.
Random House Web address: http:­/­/­www.­randomhouse.­com/­
For Edward
Title Page
France:­ 1910:­ Part One
France:­ 1916:­ Part Two
England:­ 1978:­ Part Three
France:­ 1917:­ Part Four
England:­ 1978–­79:­ Part Five
France:­ 1918:­ Part Six
England:­ 1979:­ Part Seven
About the Author
Other Books by This Author
When I go from hence, let this be my parting word,
that what I have seen is unsurpassable.
—Rabindranath Tagore, Gitanjali
Part One
The boulevard du Cange was a broad, quiet street that marked the eastern flank of the city of Amiens. The wagons that rolled in from Lille and Arras to the north drove directly into the tanneries and mills of the Saint Leu quarter without needing to use this rutted, leafy road. The town side of the boulevard backed on to substantial gardens, which were squared off and apportioned with civic precision to the houses they adjoined. On the damp grass were chestnut trees, lilacs, and willows, cultivated to give shade and quietness to their owners. The gardens had a wild, overgrown look and their deep lawns and bursting hedges could conceal small clearings, quiet pools, and areas unvisited even by the inhabitants, where patches of grass and wild flowers lay beneath the branches of overhanging trees.
Behind the gardens the river Somme broke up into small canals that were the picturesque feature of Saint Leu; on the other side of the boulevard these had been made into a series of water gardens, little islands of damp fertility divided by the channels of the split river. Long, flat-bottomed boats propelled by poles took the town dwellers through the waterways on Sunday afternoons. All along the river and its streams sat fishermen, slumped on their rods; in hats and coats beneath the cathedral and in shirtsleeves by the banks of the water gardens, they dipped their lines in search of trout or carp.
The Azaires’ house showed a strong, formal front toward the road from behind iron railings. The traffic looping down to the river would have been in no doubt that this was the property of a substantial man. The slate roof plunged in conflicting angles to cover the irregular shape of the house. Beneath one of them a dormer window looked out on to the boulevard. The first floor was dominated by a stone balcony, over whose balustrades the red ivy had crept on its way up to the roof. There was a formidable front door with iron facings on the timber.
Inside, the house was both smaller and larger than it looked. It had no rooms of intimidating grandeur, no gilt ballrooms with dripping chandeliers, yet it had unexpected spaces and corridors that disclosed new corners with steps down into the gardens; there were small salons equipped with writing desks and tapestry-covered chairs that opened inward from unregarded passageways. Even from the end of the lawn, it was difficult to see how the rooms and corridors were fitted into the placid rectangles of stone. Throughout the building the floors made distinctive sounds beneath the press of feet, so that with its closed angles and echoing air, the house was always a place of unseen footsteps.
Stephen Wraysford’s metal trunk had been sent ahead and was waiting at the foot of the bed. He unpacked his clothes and hung his spare suit in the giant carved wardrobe. There was an enamel wash bowl and wooden towel rail beneath the window. He had to stand on tiptoe to look out over the boulevard, where a cab was waiting on the other side of the street, the horse shaking its harness and reaching up its neck to nibble at the branches of a lime tree. He tested the resilience of the bed, then lay down on it, resting his head on the concealed bolster. The room was simple but had been decorated with some care. There was a vase of wild flowers on the table and two prints of street scenes in Honfleur on either side of the door.
It was a spring evening, with a late sun in the sky beyond the cathedral and the sound of blackbirds from either side of the house. Stephen washed perfunctorily and tried to flatten his black hair in the small mirror. He placed half a dozen cigarettes in a metal case that he tucked inside his jacket. He emptied his pockets of items he no longer needed: railway tickets, a blue leather notebook, and a knife with a single, scrupulously sharpened blade.<
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He went downstairs to dinner, startled by the sound of his steps on the two staircases that took him to the landing of the first floor and the family bedrooms, and thence down to the hall. He felt hot beneath his waistcoat and jacket. He stood for a moment disorientated, unsure which of the four glass-panelled doors that opened off the hall was the one through which he was supposed to go. He half-opened one and found himself looking into a steam-filled kitchen in the middle of which a maid was loading plates on to a tray on a large deal table.
“This way, Monsieur. Dinner is served,” said the maid, squeezing past him in the doorway.
In the dining room the family were already seated. Madame Azaire stood up.
“Ah, Monsieur, your seat is here.”
Azaire muttered an introduction of which Stephen heard only the words “my wife.” He took her hand and bowed his head briefly. Two children were staring at him from the other side of the table.
“Lisette,” Madame Azaire said, gesturing to a girl of perhaps sixteen with dark hair in a ribbon, who smirked and held out her hand, “and Grégoire.” This was a boy of about ten, whose small head was barely visible above the table, beneath which he was swinging his legs vigorously backward and forward.
The maid hovered at Stephen’s shoulder with a tureen of soup. Stephen lowered a ladleful of it into his plate and smelt the scent of some unfamiliar herb. Beneath the concentric rings of swirling green the soup was thickened with potato.
Azaire had already finished his and sat rapping his knife in a persistent rhythm against its silver rest. Stephen lifted searching eyes above the soup spoon as he sucked the liquid over his teeth.
“How old are you?” said the boy.
“It doesn’t matter,” said Stephen to Madame Azaire. “Twenty.”
“Do you drink wine?” said Azaire, holding a bottle over Stephen’s glass.
“Thank you.”
Azaire poured out an inch or two for Stephen and for his wife before returning the bottle to its place.
“So what do you know about textiles?” said Azaire. He was only forty years old but could have been ten years more. His body was of a kind that would neither harden nor sag with age. His eyes had an alert, humourless glare.
“A little,” said Stephen. “I have worked in the business for nearly four years, though mostly dealing with financial matters. My employer wanted me to understand more of the manufacturing process.”
The maid took away the soup plates and Azaire began to talk about the local industries and the difficulties he had had with his work force. He owned a factory in town and another a few miles outside.
“The organization of the men into their syndicates leaves me very little room for manoeuvre. They complain they are losing their jobs because we have introduced machinery, but if we cannot compete with our competitors in Spain and England, then we have no hope.”
The maid brought in a dish of sliced meat in thin gravy that she placed in front of Madame Azaire. Lisette began to tell a story of her day at school. She tossed her head and giggled as she spoke. The story concerned a prank played by one girl on another, but Lisette’s telling of it contained a second level. It was as though she recognized the childish nature of what she said and wanted to intimate to Stephen and her parents that she herself was too grown-up for such things. But where her own interests and tastes now lay she seemed unsure; she stammered a little before tailing off and turning to rebuke her brother for his laughter.
Stephen watched her as she spoke, his dark eyes scrutinizing her face. Azaire ignored his daughter as he helped himself to salad and passed the bowl to his wife. He ran a piece of bread round the rim of the plate where traces of gravy remained.
Madame Azaire had not fully engaged Stephen’s eye. In return he avoided hers, as though waiting to be addressed, but within his peripheral view fell the sweep of her strawberry-chestnut hair, caught and held up off her face. She wore a white lace blouse with a dark red stone at the throat.
As they finished dinner there was a ring at the front door and they heard a hearty male voice in the hall.
Azaire smiled for the first time. “Good old Bérard. On the dot as usual!”
“Monsieur and Madame Bérard,” said the maid as she opened the door.
“Good evening to you, Azaire. Madame, delighted.” Bérard, a heavyset grey-haired man in his fifties, lowered his lips to Madame Azaire’s hand. His wife, almost equally well built, though with thick hair wound up on top of her head, shook hands and kissed the children on the cheek.
“I am sorry, I didn’t hear your name when René introduced us,” said Bérard to Stephen.
While Stephen repeated it and spelled it out for him, the children were dismissed and the Bérards installed in their place.
Azaire seemed rejuvenated by their arrival. “Brandy for you, Bérard? And for you, Madame, a little tisane, I think? Isabelle, ring for coffee also, please. Now then—”
“Before you go any further,” said Bérard, holding up his fleshy hand, “I have some bad news. The dyers have called for a strike to begin tomorrow. The syndicate chiefs met the employers’ representatives at five this evening and that is their decision.”
Azaire snorted. “I thought the meeting was tomorrow.”
“It was brought forward to today. I don’t like to bring you bad tidings, my dear René, but you would not have thanked me if you had learned it from your foreman tomorrow. At least I suppose it won’t affect your factory immediately.”
Bérard in fact appeared to have enjoyed delivering the news. His face expressed a quiet satisfaction at the importance it had conferred on him. Madame Bérard looked admiringly at her husband.
Azaire continued to curse the work force and to ask how they expected him to keep his factories going. Stephen and the women were reluctant to give an opinion and Bérard, having delivered the news, seemed to have no further contribution to make on the subject.
“So,” he said, when Azaire had run on long enough, “a strike of dyers. There it is, there it is.”
This conclusion was taken by all, including Azaire, as the termination of the subject.
“How did you travel?” said Bérard.
“By train,” said Stephen, assuming he was being addressed. “It was a long journey.”
“Aah, the trains,” said Bérard. “What a system! We are a great junction here. Trains to Paris, to Lille, to Boulogne … Tell me, do you have trains in England?”
“Since when?”
“Let me see … For about seventy years.”
“But you have problems in England, I think.”
“I’m not sure. I wasn’t aware of any.”
Bérard smiled happily as he drank his brandy. “So there it is. They have trains now in England.”
The course of the conversation depended on Bérard; he took it as his burden to act as a conductor, to bring in the different voices, and then summarize what they had contributed.
“And in England you eat meat for breakfast every day,” he said.
“I think most people do,” said Stephen.
“Imagine, dear Madame Azaire, roast meat for breakfast every day!” Bérard invited his hostess to speak.
She declined, but murmured something about the need to open a window.
“Perhaps one day we shall do the same, eh René?”
“Oh, I doubt it, I doubt it,” said Azaire. “Unless one day we have the London fog as well.”
“Oh, and the rain.” Bérard laughed. “It rains five days out of six in London, I believe.” He looked toward Stephen again.
“I read in a newspaper that last year it rained a little less in London than in Paris, though—”
“Five days out of six,” beamed Bérard. “Can you imagine?”
“Papa can’t stand the rain,” Madame Bérard told Stephen.
“And how have you passed this beautiful spring day, dear Madame?” said Bérard, again inviting a contr
ibution from his hostess. This time he was successful, and Madame Azaire, out of politeness or enthusiasm, addressed him directly.
“This morning I was out doing some errands in the town. There was a window open in a house near the cathedral and someone was playing the piano.” Madame Azaire’s voice was cool and low. She spent some time describing what she had heard. “It was a beautiful thing,” she concluded, “though just a few notes. I wanted to stop and knock on the door of the house and ask whoever was playing it what it was called.”
Monsieur and Madame Bérard looked startled. It was evidently not the kind of thing they had expected. Azaire spoke with the soothing voice of one used to such fancies. “And what was the tune, my dear?”
“I don’t know. I had never heard it before. It was just a tune like … Beethoven or Chopin.”
“I doubt it was Beethoven if you failed to recognize it, Madame,” said Bérard gallantly. “It was one of those folksongs, I’ll bet you anything.”
“It didn’t sound like that,” said Madame Azaire.
“I can’t bear these folk tunes you hear so much of these days,” Bérard continued. “When I was a young man it was different. Of course, everything was different then.” He laughed with wry self-recognition. “But give me a proper melody that’s been written by one of our great composers any day. A song by Schubert or a nocturne by Chopin, something that will make the hairs of your head stand on end! The function of music is to liberate in the soul those feelings that normally we keep locked up in the heart. The great composers of the past were able to do this, but the musicians of today are satisfied with four notes in a line you can sell on a song-sheet at the street corner. Genius does not find its recognition quite as easily as that, my dear Madame Azaire!”
Stephen watched as Madame Azaire turned her head slowly so that her eyes met those of Bérard. He saw them open wider as they focused on his smiling face, on which small drops of perspiration stood out in the still air of the dining room. How on earth, he wondered, could she be the mother of the girl and boy who had been with them at dinner?