When Swedish businessman Lars comes to Malta for a week-long holiday, he just wants to find his feet again - just like the migratory birds which land on the island to take a break during their journey.

Tired and burnt-out, Lars needs a break from a routine that has left him emotionally void despite a well-paid job and good lifestyle.

And it is an unexpected encounter with a migratory bird that starts his journey to inner peace.

Although, as the main character in Eva Sanner's first work of fiction, Lars is solely a figment of her imagination, his internal battle to find himself is a familiar journey for the Swedish author.

"My job as a psychotherapist brings me face to face with many people like Lars, who are unhappy despite their achievements," she told The Times in a brief interview.

Written in Swedish, the book - which is expected to be published sometime next year - narrates the story of 39-year-old Lars's who is on the brink of a breakdown after being dumped by his girlfriend and is close to losing his job.

"He has lost his direction and needs to look deeply at his life," Ms Sanner says, adding that Lars is a self-centred character even though he is not conscious of this trait.

In Malta Lars meets two other Swedes - an older lady, Elizabeth, and Michael, a volunteer with BirdLife Malta. The two characters are very important for Lars's journey to inner peace, Ms Sanner explains.

"Elizabeth becomes his coach and mentor, even though at first Lars is angry at her, thinking that she asks too many questions."

But the turning point comes when Lars, while in the car with Michael, comes across a hunter who stops his car suddenly, gets out and shoots down a bird.

"Michael jumps out and starts arguing with the hunters. As Lars looks on, he mulls the unfairness of the bird's killing and decides to stay on in Malta, also becoming a BirdLife volunteer. At first he is office-bound, but soon starts going on bird-watching expeditions. And Lars realises he feels like the birds - tired and lost, trying to find himself amidst confusion.

"But he finds a new direction and takes charge of his life, changing himself in the process."

Just as the dead bird is instrumental in Lars's decision to stay in Malta, it was an injured bird which triggered Ms Sanner's fascination with the island.

"I was on holiday here some eight years ago and one day found an injured bird in my hotel room balcony. At the time I could not understand what had happened." But after some research into the local hunting culture, she decided to put pen to paper.

Although the book is the mother-of-two's first work of fiction, she feels that much of it delves into the psychological healing process. She points out that many of her clients are people like Lars, who start questioning their life and feel the need to find themselves.

While the author is reluctant to give away the story's ending, she does let slip that Lars and Elizabeth eventually have a relationship as she helps him put the pieces of his life back together.

The author will be donating five per cent of the profits from the book's first print to BirdLife Malta. Although she is against bird hunting, she admits that stopping it will not halt the dangers to birds.

"I believe that hunting is part of man's survival instinct, but killing another species for fun goes against my ethics. But on the other hand, our lifestyle is also bad for the environment, and the way we travel, what we eat and how we live could also have a ripple effect on what is around us, including birds. It is about all of us."

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