Good Reading Magazine September 2011

An extract from the review: “The descriptions of flight are written in language so assured and masterly that it’s easy to suspend disbelief and be taken on the journey into the clouds with the flyers, experiencing terror and exhilaration with equal force. But it is also a story with a very human and grounded element at its core…. The journey of parenthood…can be as terrifying and exhilarating as flight.

Part fantasy, part crime novel and compelling in every way, When We Have Wings is an outstanding debut.”


Five stars RG (Recommended for Reading Groups) – Maryanne Hyde


You can read the full review in the September 2011 issue of Good Reading Magazine.

i read therefore i am – Larissa’s book journal

When We Have Wings is the story of Peri’s determination to obtain her lifelong dream of flight. A dream she gave everything to achieve, only to realise too late just what she really gave up for it. With amazingly vivid imagery and a cast of characters you can’t help but care for, this absorbing story will have you dreaming of flight while simultaneously questioning the ethics, morals and evolutionary repercussion of such a dream turned reality. Peri is an extraordinary girl, although you won’t know just why until you have experienced her story.”

In a word: Flight

Re-read it: yes

Recommend: yes

Star rating: four out of five

The Book Nerd Club

…a brilliant and original story that is perfectly realised.

There are a lot of different threads and all of them are managed well and given enough space to be explored properly….

One of the things I thought was particularly well achieved was the description of the science of creating fliers. I think writers need to go one of two ways when it comes to the science part of the fiction – either explain it fully and comprehensively or leave it totally alone. The reader is given the information through Zeke’s visit to the doctor in charge of his son’s impending surgery, and it is explained in detail. For me, it totally worked and seemed completely realistic and not at all impossible.

But the very best part of the book is the description of flight. I really can’t stress enough how real it feels, I could see everything Peri sees, feel everything she feels, I was so up with Peri soaring through the air. And I learned a lot – I had no idea air is so complicated! It is really worth picking up a copy for this reading experience alone.

Review in the Sunday Herald Sun 31 July

Our Pick for Your Book Club: Uplifting Flight of Fantasy.

Claire Corbett lifts us into the stratosphere then brings us back to reality when we remember that unlike Peri, our heroine, we cannot fly.

This magical story combines fantasy and detective genres to tell of a brave new world where high-flyers are humans genetically modified to grow wings…

Readers can approach this on a superficial level, but on a deeper scale it will provoke debate about a society divided by those who have wings and those who do not….

A thought-provoking flight of fantasy.



A review in The Weekend Australian Saturday 30 July

Where The Sky’s No Limit

Claire Corbett’s debut novel takes the reader on an exhilarating ride. When We Have Wings is a fantastical vision grounded in reality but straining to break free of earthbound constraints….


Corbett’s prose has the clarity, luminosity and beauty of a well-cut diamond, especially when she describes dreamlike aerial visions. When We Have Wings is a confident and challenging debut; this flight of fancy deserves to soar. – Thuy On.


Sunday Star Times (NZ) 10 July

There’s magic in the descriptions of visionary architecture and idealistic modified environments, as well as in the imagined realisation of the ancient human aspiration for flight. There’s realism too, however, and not a little humour, in the humans’ tendency to fail spectacularly (like Icarus) – or at least to fall short. I found the descriptions of urban slums and city-edge wastelands a disturbing commentary on present trends.

…a pretty impressive first novel…Underneath it all, there’s an exciting, sometimes romantic, and often scary story.

– Helen Watson White, Sunday Star Times 10 July 2011

The Townsville Bulletin 9th July

It’s a fascinating read which will keep you guessing all the way…and, maybe, even wishing for some wings of your own. In a word: Unputdownable. – Mary Vernon, The Townsville Bulletin, 9th July 2011

Review at Karen Brooks’ Blog

This would have to be one of the most original and thought-provoking books I’ve read in a long time. Exquisitely written and populated by characters about whom you care, the novel is a wonderful melange of genres. Encompassing science-fiction, crime and fantasy it is also a considered tale that deals with fascinating and all too real philosophical issues including the timeless one of just what it means to be human. Adding a delicate frisson to this is the role of science and surgery and just how far humans are prepared to go in order to reach for and extend the aesthetic, physical and psychological limitations of their body and the potential and actual consequences of this. Dilemmas we already face as plastic and cosmetic surgery and other bodily modifications as well as our obsession with aging dominate headlines and already create  very real class and economic divisions….

…Told as parallel narratives, Peri and Zeke’s stories offers amazing and beautifully told insights into a divided future where getting what you wish for can be a poisoned, if seductive, chalice. Ethics, morals, right, wrong, religion, politics, parenting, nurture, nature, biological recklessness, exploitation and responsibility are all explored in intelligent and evocative prose. Descriptions of flight are irresistible as is the power of nature, conjured by Corbett in what I can only describe as breath-taking word storms.

This is a sublime book that will appeal to such a broad readership. An absolutely fabulous read that I simultaneously found hard to put down but also didn’t want to end.

Read the full review here.

Book of the Month at Love That Book

Our book of the month for July is ‘When We Have Wings’ by Claire Corbett.

‘When We Have Wings’ is the amazing debut novel from NSW author Claire Corbett.

Benette says, ‘This books really does offer something different. It’s set in the future, when some people can fly and some can’t. The star of the story is Peri, a young woman flier in charge of the care of baby Hugo, who comes to realise there is serious threat to them both. I tore through this book in a matter of days and am so pleased to list it as our book of the month.’

Australian Book Review

The flying sequences featured throughout When We Have Wings have a vivid, dreamlike intensity. Corbett’s characters are well developed, and she engages with a range of important social issues. These issues include genetic modification, motherhood, and class stratification….

Corbett skilfully depicts a bleak future in which advanced technology only exacerbates social inequalities. The plight of her characters (particularly Peri) is gripping and often moving. – from the review by Jay Daniel Thompson, ABR