Telemachus by Peter Gray


Told through the medium of a colony of migrating birds, this is essentially a love story which explores the meaning of the word ‘love’ to different individuals.

It’s about pain and joy, illusion and reality. It’s also about the fragility of love and the way it can be destroyed so easily for some, while for others, it’s the immutable spine of their very existence.

Tom John-Mary has two contradictory anticipations in his early days, both about females who will have a future influence on his life. Daisy, an unwelcome intruder, and Sally, the love of his life.

Daisy inserts herself into his respected family and Tom’s belief that Sally is to be his gift from Aves, God of Birds, is shattered. Meantime, Sally becomes paired with Jacob who, at an early stage, mistreats her and absconds.

Telemachus is the big red eagle at the end of the northern valley and from whose talons none return. Tom doesn’t know if he’s real or an illusion, as none ever return to say they’ve seen him. He’s the threat that’s there in the face of all life, the danger that’s met around any corner. In some ways, he’s the existential response to illogical teaching and distorted reasoning.

Follow this incredible story and discover the storms, twists, turns, tragedies and migrations that Tom and Sally have to endure before love can really start to soar.

Though less than 200 pages, this beautiful yet complex anthropomorphic tale of migratory birds covered thousands of miles taking us readers on life’s journey of struggles and tribulations mixed with the triumphant moments of parental love and blissful courtships. It is fascinating because of the uncanny gritty reflections of human lives including mine.

As I follow our human-like avian characters Tom, Sally, Daisy and Simon in their growing up pains, courtship, and taking on adult responsibilities like fatherhood and struggles to survive, it was amusing to see the not infallible higher avian powers, Father Aves and Petraus pulling puppet strings that decided the fates of our birdy friends. Even more amusing was that as Tom’s life was crumbling because Sally loved him no more, he recognized that it was the higher power Father Aves wreaking havoc in his life.

Multi-faceted themes to say the least, like for example the sexist aspects of the male versus female bird roles in the bird community. Sally may be a top notch, practical & doting mother bird, but she was not sympathetic enough to an overworked career minded Tom, who grew up as a singleton, had assumed a very busy community job as the top bird in the community and wanted nothing more than a clean and uncrowded nest to sleep in at night with his sweet Sally. Another profound theme that reminded me of human failings was the right for the unborn in the egg to be given warmth till it hatches and experience life to the fullest seems a natural strong mother instincts programmed into these mother birds. I was horrified with Sally when she defied my faith in the animal or avian kingdom when she abandoned her love egg with Simon after failing to peck a hole in the egg to end its life. Even though humans are at the top of the food chain, we are horrendously wicked to readily deprive the unborn their right to life when life becomes inconvenient.

In any case, we have much to learn from these birds as they go about their lives doing what is expected of them. Even when they are served lemons or when Aves gives them a Daisy, doggedly they carry on working, migrating, courting, making nests, laying eggs, hatching them and raising their chicks. Storms may destroy their nests, cats may eat their babies, the Telemachus may snatch them from mid-air while they least expect it, yet they carry on fearlessly bearing whatever would come their way courtesy of Father Aves. So it is also, I believe, with our own lives. Just as it was in Job’s, the necessary sufferings we go through in life are mostly beyond our control but necessary to take us to where we are meant to be today. We are all subjects to mother Destiny and our fates are sealed long before our existence

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