Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Review: Delicate Edible Birds

From Lauren Groff, author of the critically acclaimed and bestselling first novel The Monsters of Templeton, comes Delicate Edible Birds, one of the most striking short fiction debuts in years. Here are nine stories of astonishing insight and variety, each revealing a resonant drama within the life of a twentieth-century American woman.

In "Sir Fleeting," a midwestern farm girl on her honeymoon in Argentina falls into lifelong lust for a French playboy. In "Blythe," an attorney who has become a stay-at-home mother takes a night class in poetry and meets another full-time mother, one whose charismatic brilliance changes everything. In "Delicate Edible Birds," a group of war correspondents - a lone, high-spirited woman among them - falls prey to a brutal farmer while fleeing Nazis in the French countryside.

In some of these stories, enormous changes happen in an instant. In others, transformations occur across a lifetime - or several lifetimes.

For some people a catchy title will stand out to them, for me it's the cover that catches my eye. I love this cover and the way the black scroll work stands out against the light blue. This book was already on my must read list because I really enjoyed Lauren Groff's The Monsters of Templeton, but if it hadn't been, I would have checked it out just based on the cover.

The first story in the book is set in Templeton. I loved this because it was like going home, back to a familiar, comfortable setting. From here, the stories all feature women, but they are all vastly different. This difference in all the stories was one of my favorite aspects of this collection. Often times with short stories it seems like you are reading variations on the same story over and over. I never felt that way with this collection.

There were a couple of times that the voice the story was told in seemed a little strange, a little off. By the end of the story, though, I always understood exactly why Groff told the story the way she did, and it always made perfect sense.

Groff's writing is beautiful and captivating without being overdone. I would often set the book aside after completing a story just to keep the characters with me a little while longer. Lauren
Groff has definitely made her way on to my "must read" list. 4.5 stars

Special thanks to Hyperion Books for providing my review copy.

Order Delicate Edible Birds: And Other Stories


Sandy Nawrot said...

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Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

Excellent review (and I loved the Teaser below). This one caught my eye a month or so ago, but I didn't add it to my wish list ... it's going there now!

She is Too Fond of Books