by Soula Emmanuel
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Pub Date 30 Mar 2023 | Archive Date 19 Aug 2023
Over-educated and underpaid, Phoebe Forde is finally settling into her new life in Copenhagen with her anxious dog Dolly. Almost three years into her gender transition, she has learned to move through the world carefully, savouring small moments of joy. A woman without a past can be anyone she wants - that is, until an unexpected visit from her first (and only) girlfriend brings her face-to-face with a life she thought she would never see again.
In the course of a single weekend, as their old romance kindles something radical and new, Grace helps Phoebe to navigate the jagged edges of migration and alienation.
Wild Geese is an intimate and moving novel of past lives, messy feelings and the desire to start afresh. With wit and warmth, it charts the dislocations and relocations, encounters, accidents and memories, and the layers of love and loss that constitute a life.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 16 members
Wild Geese is a novel about a woman who spends a weekend with her ex-girlfriend and explores the messiness of life. Phoebe is trans and Irish and lives in Copenhagen, where she moves through the world largely alone, with the company of the dog she looks after, Dolly. When her ex-girlfriend Grace suddenly appears on her doorstep, visiting the city for the weekend, something is kindled between them, but it isn't straightforward, and both of them have pasts and places to reconcile and a sense of being lost to face.
This is a beautiful novel, set over a single weekend (with timestamps) from Phoebe's point of view, and manages to capture a lot of wistfulness, loss, and hope within the writing. It combines poetic, literary prose with modern references (Blåhaj being my favourite, but I was sat with one whilst reading) and the limited timeframe of the narrative allows for a lot of space for not only thinking about the past, but also plenty of thoughts about the present and future. I spent a fair bit of the book worried about how sadly it might end, but actually I think it was a powerful narrative with a conclusion that was satisfying and shows how things can be complicated and messy, but also help you to move forward.
As the title suggests, this is a book about two women chasing things and hoping to find them in each other as they reunite. Wild Geese is both an emotional look at a relationship and the changing nature of one, and an exploration of escaping place and gender and how these can feel intertwined.
a really beautiful, stirring exploration of quiet combustion and trying to figure yourself out ! felt very true and urgent !
Thank you for the digital review copy Footnote Press!
I couldnt' stop reading once I started. Phenomenally good.
Phoebe is an Irish trans woman living alone in Copenhagen. One Friday, her ex-girlfriend Grace unexpectedly turns up at her door. This is set over the course of a weekend as both Phoebe and Grace contend with how their pasts and presents reconcile, all the while rekindling their romance.
I loved this. It felt quietly profound with an undercurrent of very Irish humour. Phoebe is so likeable, Grace maybe a little less so, but their dynamic was electric. A really beautiful mediation on what it means to become someone new and if it's ever really possible.
Wild Geese follows Phoebe, a trans woman from Ireland who lives in Copenhagen. After an unexpected visit from her ex-girlfriend, Grace, they spend the weekend together.
Poetic and profound, witty and intelligent. We navigate through the complexities of relationships, gender and being a foreigner abroad.
Phoebe and Grace are confronted with their past, a rekindling of their relationship starts to happen only to be met with complications.
The novel explores gender and finding a place within the world. A really great read.
Phoebe Forde is an Irish trans woman pursuing a PhD and dogsitting in an apartment in Copenhagen. Reserved and focussed on building her new life, she's shook when her ex-girlfriend, Grace, who she dated pre-transition, shows up on her doorstep without warning. Grace and Phoebe slowly warm to one another and re-kindle their romance, while trying to reconcile the pain they've caused one another in the past.
One Friday, her ex-girlfriend Grace unexpectedly turns up at her door. This is set over the course of a weekend - with timestamps! - as both Phoebe and Grace contend with how their pasts and presents reconcile, all the while rekindling their romance.
I loved this book - it's warm and melancholic, funny and profound. These might sound like contradictions but Emmanuel makes it work with the self-assuredness that belies her status as a debut author. It is told largely from Phoebe's point of view with a few sections narrated by Grace. By zeroing in on just 2 characters, she allows us to dig deep into their pysche and how they feel avbout one another. This works so well because both women feel so real; they're both flawed, funny, and deep thinkers, and instantly likeable to read about.
I've read so much trans literature that's based exclusively out of the US so it was a joy to read this kind of story in an Irish context. Excellent jokes about modern Irish life abound and became some of my most-highlighted sections on my Kobo. The inherent messiness of Phoebe and Grace's relationship also gives Emmanuel room for plenty of dry humour, which I loved.
I also adored the setting; Copenhagen is a fantastic city, but not one I've seen in literature before. Setting the novel here allows the Irishness of the characters to the dialled up without irritating the reader; it's also stunningly depicted by Emmanuel and immerses the reader in the location and thus, the story.
Wild Geese is a deeply honest, moving and urgent novel about the difficult changes inherent in becoming your own person in the world, and one I will remember for a long time yet. A stunning read.