THE CROWS OF BEARA

Coming Fall 2017 from Ashland Creek Press

Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax. The name begins at the lips and rolls down the throat in an elegant lamentation for the endangered birds with blue-black feathers and crimson beaks that congregate on the side of a cliff overlooking the North Atlantic.

A fragile population of Red-billed chough has found refuge on the Beara Peninsula, a lean claw of land off Ireland’s southwest coast. But the birds’ nesting ground shares space with a recently discovered store of copper. In a region where jobs are scarce and industries are failing, a new mining operation could slow the exodus of families and of hope.

Ireland’s withering economy and the plight of a little bird with an odd name are the last things on Annie Crowe’s mind as she rebuilds her life in Seattle. A recovering alcoholic, she has a marriage to repair and a career to salvage. When she is sent by a strategic communications firm to build a public campaign of support for a copper mine outside the village of Ballycaróg, it’s a final chance to get something right. 

When she arrives on the remote Beara peninsula, Annie soon learns that the mine would encroach on the nesting ground of the Red-billed chough, and many in the community are fiercely protective of this wild place. Among them is Daniel Savage, a local artist battling demons of his own, who has been recruited to help block the development.

And, inexplicably, they begin to hear the same voice—a strange, distant whisper of Gaelic, like sorrow blowing in the wind. Guided by ancient mythology and challenged by modern problems, Annie must confront the half-truths she has been sent to spread and the lies she has been telling herself. Most of all, she must open her heart to the healing power of this rugged land and its people.

THE CROWS OF BEARA was a finalist in the 2014 Siskiyou Prize for New Environmental Literature, judged by PEN/Faulkner author and Man Booker prize nominee Karen Joy Fowler. 

The Crows of Beara
By Julie Christine Johnson