28 September 2021

Review: As Swallows Fly by L.P. McMahon

* Copy courtesy of Ventura Press *
As Swallows Fly by L.P. McMahon book cover

In As Swallows Fly by L.P. McMahon, Kate is a plastic surgeon living in Melbourne and Malika is an orphan from a remote village in Pakistan. Their lives unexpectedly converge thanks to the well meaning intentions of an uncle and priest and each of the women seem to directly - and sometimes indirectly - help one another with their struggles.

Malika's childhood upbringing in rural Pakistan was tough, yet full of love and her joy of learning and mathematics was a pleasure to read about. I learned that the author volunteered as a medic in Pakistan and his experience definitely shines through in his writing.

Malika struggles with a facial disfigurement after an horrific assault and insists on keeping her face concealed by wearing a veil and hijab. Arguably one of the most moving scenes in the entire book should have been the moment Malika reveals her face to Dr Kate for the first time. I was eagerly anticipating this moment, but the conversation between the characters is held 'off stage' so to speak. In my opinion the author missed an opportunity for these characters to experience a powerful scene and without it, I felt bereft.

Meanwhile, Kate is hardworking and overworked and she's constantly running late for things which really irked me. I know the author needed to demonstrate the demanding nature of Kate's job and how 'busy busy' she is, but it just made me roll my eyes.

I was enjoying the growing trust between Kate and Malika, but by the close of the book there were too many unanswered questions for my liking. There were unresolved character arcs and a glaring oversight right at the end. (Find me on GoodReads for more on this where I was able to hide my questions via a spoiler warning).

As Swallows Fly is the debut novel for Melbourne surgeon L.P. McMahon and will be an enjoyable contemporary read for those who don't mind an ambiguous or unresolved ending.

You can seize this book at Booktopia.


My Rating:


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  1. I have this out from the library on audiobook, but after your review, I'm not sure whether I want to bother.

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    Replies
    1. I'd still give it a go Claire. Your reading experience might be completely different to mine. The audiobook might be a different experience too.

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