What pigeons are saying about “The Unvoiced Consonant”…

Gripping reading! Really, I couldn’t put it down. But what was with all of that grammar?


Kiosk roof, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, Australia

I was surprised when only one character turned into a pigeon.

I mean, surely, this is the enduring strength of pigeons – there are just so damn many of us, we’re not known for embarking on individual missions or for the big-noting and carry-on that you get with, say, the bowerbird or the kingfisher.

If Mendes can weave in a few more pigeon characters, or even characters with pigeon characteristics, fine – otherwise, I can’t see that there’s much in this book for me.


Reading Room windowsill, Massachusetts Public Library, Boston, US

Virginia Gray stopped by our neighbourhood last year and tried to do the assimilation thing – she really wanted to belong – but a couple of squabs saw something that looked like a ladies’ cameo hanging off her chest and they dobbed her into the cops.

Last time I saw her, she was being pushed out of a rubbish bin queue. We just don’t like outsiders, I guess.


Norfolk Pine tree, Waste and Recycling Depot, Dunedin, NZ

I just don’t buy the pretext – a human can’t transform into a pigeon.

And that stuff about Virginia having paranormal vision just because she’s a pigeon is absolute bollocks.

I’m 2 years old and already I have to squint to read the drive-thru menu.


Carpark, McDonald’s Footscray, Australia

Quite an enchanting little tale.

When Virginia Gray felt the bump at her coxyx, I thought, oh, here we go, they’re going to have her turn into a blackbird who can warble a melody, they’re going to turn this into some f *** ing love story. But not so. You’d probably describe it as more of a hate story.


Back of the belfry, St Crispin’s Anglican Church, Sudbury Gardens, Middlesex, UK

This novel makes pigeons out to be absolute morons.

That passage where Virginia and Molly are talking and Virginia rises up onto one leg – get your hand off it, Mendes.

Do your research. Seagulls go mono-leg, and so do storks and flamingos and the occasional duck – I have never known a pigeon to do it, and I live with 2,618 of them.


St Peter’s Square, Rome, Italy