Not Knowing: A Novel

“It’s so refreshing to read a story which is both intense emotionally and yet free of overwrought drama. Meg’s journey to understanding is gripping and absorbing. I really enjoyed this novel. It reminded me of Barbara Kingsolver with maybe a touch of the magical realism of South American authors. Highly recommend.”

– Patrice Sarath, author of The Sisters Mederos 

“Not Knowing weaves past and present, dream and waking life together for a ride you won’t want to end–and once you finish it, you might still be finding yourself absorbed in the characters and their growth. Meg Fitzellen, anthropologist and rationalist, confronts a recent trauma during an archeological dig in Belize only to uncover deeper and darker secrets from her more distant past. Uncanny dreams, occasional flashbacks, and some old-fashioned fortune telling compel her at last to face the emotional fallout of events she’s long buried in a hidden drawer of her mind. Once all the secrets are out, Meg finds liberation not just from emotional baggage but also from an overly materialistic worldview that kept her from living in the magic of reality. Donna Birdwell has a talent for evocative prose, lush settings, and dark secrets her characters must face as they grow into themselves, as well as moments of soaring ecstasy. Grab some coffee, put aside a weekend, and treat yourself to this expedition into a magical vision of reality.”  

–Claire Villarreal, Ph.D. 

“This is for you if you like female protagonists, stories that let you follow along and inspire your own train of thoughts, as well as books you would like to read again. Recommended.”                   –Book Blogger Karen Oberlaender (Complete review here.)

When Meg was a little girl, Abuela María predicted she would travel to the moon.

Now she’s an archaeologist digging up Mayan ruins in Belize while trying to keep her own past buried beneath hard work and professional responsibility. It isn’t working. The summer of 2022 seems destined to push all of Meg’s buttons—her deep-seated aversion to marijuana and guns and the unwanted presence of a boy who reminds her of a certain horrific summer in Mexico. Digging deeper only unearths more questions. And then her husband buys a lottery ticket for the first tourist flight to the moon.

What Meg doesn’t want to know may yet be her redemption.

Available now on Amazon and in Austin at Malvern Books, 613 W. 29th Street, near the University of Texas campus.

Also available:

RECALL CHRONICLES 

Birdwell’s RECALL CHRONICLES create “a vision of the future that’s both harrowing and endlessly entertaining.” — Kirkus Reviews

Vol. I – Way of the Serpent

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When Jenda Swain – youthful and vigorous at the age of 111 – encounters an incongruously old woman at an out-of-the-way café, her life veers in a new direction amid unsettling questions about her own identity and her role in the corporation-dominated culture of 2125. Her journey takes her into the arms of an activist artist, who has a quest of his own. Answers come together as their world falls apart.

Way of the Serpent manages to be at once a page-turner, with mystery, romance, and rebellion driving the plot forward–and a book that sticks with you after you read it. I found myself still pondering some of the passages and themes from this novel days after I’d finished it.” – Claire Villareal, Ph.D.

“Insightful and haunting! Vividly portrayed characters undertake a suspenseful journey of uncovering and fighting a corporate conspiracy.” – Elena Sandovici, author of Dogs With Bagels

To read the opening chapters of Way of the Serpent, click here.

Vol. II, Shadow of the Hare

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In a 22nd-century world in which books have ceased to matter and barely exist, Malia Poole is a stubbornly dissident author and bibliophile. After fifty years of self-imposed exile, she returns to find a world far more terrifying than the one she fled in 2075. In Texas, Nigeria, and India she doggedly pursues the truth her heart demands.

“I haven’t seen a book with this wide ranging ambition and perspective in a long time. Dystopian literature is always at its best when it’s actually utopian in its heart. Donna Birdwell’s vision, a future gone subtly wrong, seems really more a look at how we might get it right.” – Steven J. Zani, Ph.D.”

Read more of what Kirkus Reviews has to say about Shadow of the Hare HERE.

Read Tony Burnett’s review in Writers’ League of Texas’ Scribe HERE.

 

Volume III – Flight of the Owl 

Jonathan Swain is headed back to where he was seven months ago, back when the world still existed. It’s early spring 2127 as he sets out in search of his plutocrat grandfather’s archives, determined to discover the truth about the old man’s role in the disastrous world that was. Accompanied by a Hopi artist and a genius fifteen-year-old with a sketchy past, Jonathan’s quest takes him first to Dallas, Texas, and then to Costa Rica, where he learns that the future of humankind may depend on what he finds.

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Recall Chronicles available on Amazon and at leading independent bookstores:  In Austin at Book PeopleMalvern Books, Bookwoman, and at Half Price Books N. Lamar (local authors shelf). In Houston at River Oaks Bookstore.  In San Antonio at The Twig Book Shop.  In Dallas at Deep Vellum Bookstore.