The world of Australian writer Carmel Bird is one in which no hard line is drawn between everyday reality and unvarnished fantasy. Her new novel, The Bluebird Café, is a delectable concoction. In the brew are an Historic Museum Village (a Tasmanian Disneyland under an enormous glass dome), a verdant horizontal forest, the mysterious disappearance of midget child Lovelygod, anorexic teenager and later famous writer Virginia O’Day who pens letters to long-deceased Charles Dickens, a Japanese student’s research paper, recipes for Heavenly Tart and Cherry Ripe Slices, information about aborigines and thylacenes. Ms. Bird describes her books as being in some sense a meditation on extinction––of races of people, species of animals and plants, language meanings, the human spirit. Equally it is a celebration of the hope that continues to burn in human hearts, of delight and wonder that still abound.