In the garden, there were three flamingos.
Not real flamingos, but real emblems, real gateways to a time when life was impossibly good.
They were mascots, symbols of hope. Something for a boy to confide in. First, there were the flamingos. And then there were two families. Sherry and Leslie and their daughters, Rae and Pauline – and Eve and her son Daniel.
Sherry loves her husband, Leslie. She also loves Eve. It couldn’t have been a happier summer. But then Eve left and everything went grey. Now Daniel is all grown-up and broken. And when he turns up at Sherry’s door, it’s almost as if they’ve all come home again.
But there’s still one missing. Where is Eve? And what, exactly, is her story? FLAMINGO is a novel about the power of love, welcome and acceptance.
It’s a celebration of kindness, of tenderness. Set in 2018 and the 80s, it’s a song for the broken-hearted and the big-hearted, and is, ultimately, a novel grown from gratitude, and a book full of wild hope.
Flamingo is a book I picked up (like many others, I imagine) because I saw it on the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2022 longlist, and then seeing so many other bloggers and reviewers rave about it. And it did not disappoint! This is a book that ignited so many feelings in me – it’s incredibly emotional at times, and manages to be heartwarming and optimistic – yet so sad and poignant too.
The plot is a real mix. I thought perhaps it would be a bit abstract or pretentious but it absolutely isn’t. I just sunk into it and found myself completely absorbed in the characters’ development – which was no surprise, as the two main families in this are brilliant. I cared so much about Daniel, Evie, Sherry, Leslie, Rae, and everyone else, but particularly Daniel and his life with his mother Evie as a child and then as an adult, when I found the story incredibly moving. Plus, the plot was so much more intricate than I expected, addressing various important themes in a sensitive and honest way.
I don’t want to give too much away but the novel flicks back and forth between timeframes, and we learn more about some of the characters’ backgrounds and childhoods which I loved. Flamingo is a gem of a book, which is so worth giving a go – you won’t regret it!