A Rain of Night Birds
A Novel by Deena Metzger
Perhaps never before in the history of humankind has the disparity between Indigenous mind and Western mind been more on the pulse of what we must pay attention to in order to insure our survival. Deena Metzger has written a novel in which two people, who are from each side of this polarity, begin a loving relationship. Sandra Birdswell is a student of climatology with an uncanny ability to sense weather events. Her mother, who died in childbirth, is a mystery to her. Her father, John, is a former Reservation doctor who faithfully raises her despite his limitations and obligations. She first meets Terrence, a Native man and a professor of climatology, at her university classes. Years later, they are drawn together by the powerful forces of their love, for the Earth, for each other, and their mutual need to seek out the broken links of their family histories. When the UN report on climate change is released in 2007, the reality of the effects of the Anthropocene era sends a shockwave through both their lives. Their relationship to each other and to the elementals they are so intimate with — lightning, thunder, rain, mountain — brings them deeply and violently into a quest to live their lives in ways that disengage from colonial mind, the same mind that brought devastation to the Native peoples, and now brings all of humanity to the brink of extinction. Through their love of and deeply felt intuitive connection to the Earth, they each go to the brink of death to find their truth, to gain strength and wisdom.
"In clear and elegant prose, Deena Metzger yet again explores the most important issues of our time, in yet another profound and compelling way. A Rain of Night Birds is a beautiful and important novel."
— Derrick Jensen, author of A Language Older Than Words
"Now more than ever, we need to read, and then read again, Deena Metzger’s new novel, a thrilling exploration of the dilemmas we face as a species beset with extinction and as individuals beset by doubts as to how that threat to our loved ones and the Earth can be avoided in our age of confusion. The four complex protagonists take us on a journey into the depths of their despair and the lightening of their hopes, and by its end we are left trembling with grief and wisdom, challenged to leap into the arduous self-understanding of ourselves and the indigenous past that alone can guide us through the turmoil and the fire and, perhaps, who knows, save the Earth."
—Ariel Dorfman, author of the play "Death and the Maiden" and the forthcoming novel Darwin’s Ghosts