Last Bird Singing

Allan Bush
Publication Date: 
Thursday, February 7, 2008
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Winner of the Glen Dimplex Award for fiction 2009


“Walking Clifton Street, in any direction, is like going to your own funeral.”

Last Bird Singing is a blacker than black Cardiff novel by first time novelist Allan Bush.

Last Bird Singing  is an extraordinary and stunning evocation of one man’s inner life, dark, haunting and bitterly true. The walls, pubs and streets of Wales’ capital city loom through the blackness of an intense,  brilliantly realised story of loneliness and loss.
Tommy Oliver is a man with no hope. He is tortured by the mistakes of the past, a past in which he was passionate about his work, his wife, his football and his dreamworld of the silver screen.
Filled with longings but unable to face his empty life, Tommy sets fire to his Splott home, leaves, then returns to trace the map of his frustrated world through the dark streets of Cardiff. But family life stalks him and as his estranged son becomes enmeshed in the underside of Cardiff life, death and vengeance call for one final act. 

Praise for Last Bird Singing:

"To be sucked into the slipstream of this ice-cold odyssey through Cardiff past and present is to confront a brute reality which Allan Bush creates in prose as clear and iridescent as oil-slicked puddles on a city street. No one, but no one, has ever written about Cardiff’s deep reality like Bush does: attempts at Noir pale into insignificance before its deep and disturbing blackness of vision."  – Dai Smith

"Not just a finger on the pulse of a city, but the probing of its deep wounds through the unfolding of a father-son relationship in a fractured family. Allan Bush’s novel is visceral, scalpel-sharp, and a run through with a vein of tenderness and love. This is uncompromising storytelling in stark and beautiful prose" – Des Barry

"A beautifully bleak ode to Cardiff…poetic, visceral, dark and rain-soaked. I’ve found a new hero in 70-year old Roath resident Allan Bush". Buzz Magazine, April 2008

“This is a sharp, exciting contemporary novel which provides a poignant reality check on the glossy new brochures of modern life in this particular Celtic tiger economy. Fiction, for sure. But with the ring of authenticity.” Tony Heath, The Tribune, May 08



Review by Little Lagoon Press

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

I urge all readers who enjoy Bukowski to read this extraordinary evocation of one man's inner life in this dark and haunting book. The walls, pubs, and city streets loom large through the blackness to crowd an intense brilliantly realised story of loneliness and despair. At times brutal, the story conveys a real sense of urban honesty, its visceral logic ramming it's way into your head to stunning effect. 

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