The Dutch author Eva Meijer has created a fictional life for Howard based on the little that is known. Passages from her books tell the parallel life story of Star, her favourite great tit. Howard’s words are fascinating and moving. The woman herself remains an enigma ... An entertaining and thought-provoking read, the novel is also deeply sad, for Len believes her work is vital to the birds’ wellbeing. What we see is that her need is far greater than theirs.
Het vogelhuis—called Bird Cottage in English—is both an engaging story about the life of an unusual woman and a work that raises philosophical, ethical, and scientific questions about animal, specifically avian, communication and consciousness ... Meijer...creates a very particular, often delicate tone, which catches the vibrant intelligence of Len’s character. This delicacy is often present in the dialogue, too, especially in the earlier chapters, in which Len is portrayed as a child and young woman. The language she uses is not quaint or dated, not bound to a specific time, but instead is reflective of the thoughts and impressions that flow through Len’s mind and heart.