Mateship with Birds

Front Cover
Pan Macmillan Australia, Feb 1, 2012 - Fiction - 224 pages
72 Reviews


"clever, original and richly rewarding" Australian Bookseller & Publisher

"it might just be the sweetest book about sex you will ever read" Sydney Morning Herald

On the outskirts of an Australian country town in the 1950s, a lonely farmer trains his binoculars on a family of kookaburras that roost in a tree near his house. Harry observes the kookaburras through a year of feast, famine, birth, death, war, romance and song. As Harry watches the birds, his next door neighbour has her own set of binoculars trained on him. Ardent, hard-working Betty has escaped to the country with her two fatherless children. Betty is pleased that her son, Michael, wants to spend time with the gentle farmer next door. But when Harry decides to teach Michael about the opposite sex, perilous boundaries are crossed.

Mateship with Birds is a novel about young lust and mature love. It is a hymn to the rhythm of country life - to vicious birds, virginal cows, adored dogs and ill-used sheep. On one small farm in a vast, ancient landscape, a collection of misfits question the nature of what a family can be.

Shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award 2013
Winner of the NSW Premier's Literary Awards' Christina Stead Prize 2013
Finalist of the Melbourne Prize for Literature for Best Writing Award 2012
Shortlisted for the VIC Premier's Literary Awards' Prize for Fiction 2013 and Prime Minister's Literary Awards' Prize for Fiction 2013
Longlisted for Nita B Kibble Literary Awards for Women Writers' Kibble Literary Award 2013

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Review: Mateship With Birds

User Review  - Goodreads

Call me a cultural cretin, but this book didn't work it for me. The premis was promising: a book about sexual tensions between neighbours set in rural Australia, built upon the metaphors of birds and ... Read full review

Review: Mateship With Birds

User Review  - Goodreads

Carrie Tiffany's Mateship with Birds, set in rural Australia, in the 1950's, is a reflection on nature in it's various expressions -birds, cows, dogs, people. I found it oddly difficult to stay with ... Read full review

Other editions - View all

About the author (2012)

Carrie Tiffany was born in West Yorkshire and grew up in Western Australia. She spent her early twenties working as a park ranger in the Red Centre and now lives in Melbourne, where she works as an agricultural journalist. Her first novel, Everyman's Rules for Scientific Living (2005) was shortlisted for numerous awards including the Orange Prize, the Miles Franklin Literary Award, the Guardian First Book Award and the Commonwealth Writer's Prize, and won the Dobbie Award for Best First Book (2006) and the 2006 Western Australian Premier's Award for Fiction. Mateship with Birds is her second novel.

Bibliographic information