Axeman's Carnival, The

Chidgey, Catherine

  11 Reviews

The rescue of a fledgling magpie comes just at the right time for Marnie, a perfect distraction from the struggles she and her husband Rob face on their Otago sheep farm. Tama is not just any magpie; his remarkable mimicry sets him apart and on to an inevitable path to social media fame, guided by Marnie's nurturing and tempered by Rob's resentment.

Engaging, wholly original and with its unique perspective of human behaviour, this is a gripping domestic drama with dark undertones, that cleverly merges animal and human worlds. [Larger font]

Comments from BDS Reviewers

"I loved this book - so original and well-written."

"The initial realisation that this was a novel related by a magpie nearly put me off, but the writing was so instantly engaging, I continued - and I am so pleased I did!"

"The story is fast-paced and very gripping."

"Easy to read and while it is a dark story, the use of Tama's narrative is very amusing."

"A wonderfully well-paced novel, accelerating to its dramatic crescendo."

"The story is very clear and moves along very quickly."

"Well-crafted and clever. It definitely has a NZ flavour."

"Fascinating information about magpies - and also axeman competitions."

"It is far 'bigger' than a story about a magpie - it's almost like a Greek tragedy."



We all enjoyed this book. Having the magpie speak was a unique way of storytelling. The plot was cleverly thought of and the characters were well defined. An excellent read by a New Zealand writer.
CHCH 179
We all enjoyed this book. It was easy and enjoyable to read, yet it wove so many relevant issues into the story in a thought-provoking way, without the reader feeling they were being 'preached' to. We all especially enjoyed the humour in Tama's voice - especially directed at Rob!
ASHB 016
Everyone in our group loved this book - although not everyone loves magpies. It was a great story and we all loved the ending. I personally have wanted to read this for so long and it did not disappoint. We would like to read more of her books. Loved the NZ aspect and we could all relate to magpies as most of us have grown up with them around. Decided we would never look at them the same again. Great story - completely different to anything we have read before but it was brilliant.
Great discussion points in this book. Enjoyed by most.
CHCH 299
Mixed reactions to this book from the group. Several loved it and thought it deserved 5 stars because it was beautifully written, well researched, an interesting premise, and an exciting plot, others had trouble believing the magpie as a narrator, some felt the writer built up a lot of tension and expectation only for the ending to be anti-climactic, some thought there were too many plot lines that went nowhere and could have been dropped. This wide range of views made it a good discussion book.
CHCH 033
All but one of us really enjoyed the book. She couldn't get into it, but we said if she'd persevered she may have. It was remarked on that it was most unusual to have a magpie as the narrator - but good too!! Some good laughs, some awful violence, but a well-written book overall.
All bar two loved this book, a couple even purchasing their own copy!! A very N.Z. book, with that dark undertone.
CHCH 537
We all found it compelling, easy to read, a great treatment of serious themes - we were very invested in the characters especially Tama.
CHCH 247
Most readers thoroughly enjoyed the book and were very taken with the way the author was able to make Tama such a convincing character. It was a compulsive read. One member did not enjoy as she has an aversion to birds, however she seemed to make an animated contribution to the discussion!
Most members thought this an excellent book. They spoke of the quality and cadence of the language and the interest generated by having the story told from a non-human viewpoint. The magpie narrator spans two worlds and thus provides a revealing perspective on each. All agreed that the author's research was comprehensive and gave immediacy, reality and groundedness to her exploration of the book's themes - including domestic violence, male obsession ( with chopping in this case) as an evasion of unpleasant realities and the impact of the superficially connected world of the internet...
CHCH 537
We all found it compelling, easy to read, a great treatment of serious themes - we were very invested in the characters especially Tama.