Delicate Edible Birds: And Other Stories

( 6 )


From Lauren Groff, author of the critically acclaimed and bestselling novel The Monsters of Templeton, comes Delicate Edible Birds, one of the most striking short fiction debuts in recent years.

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From Lauren Groff, author of the critically acclaimed and bestselling novel The Monsters of Templeton, comes Delicate Edible Birds, one of the most striking short fiction debuts in recent years.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Groff follows up The Monsters of Templeton with this innovative and beautifully written collection that covers a wide swath of humanity, from east coast resort towns, to the early 20th century flu epidemic, to WWII Europe. In "Lucky Chow Fun," the narrator, an ungainly but wise 17-year-old girl, watches over her younger sister after their father leaves and their mother tunes out. In "Watershed," a woman reunites with a man and moves back to her hometown, but their happiness is short-lived when a freak accident leaves her husband comatose. Not all stories are gems-the supernatural elements in "Fugue," about a couple tending to a semi-abandoned hotel, don't quite work, while "Blythe," about a housewife who befriends a bipolar eccentric in a poetry class, feels half-baked. Even in the less successful stories, Groff's prose is lovely, and when she nails a story-like the title story about journalists fleeing Nazi-occupied Paris-the results are sublime.
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Library Journal

Nine stories. Nine wildly unique, exquisitely symphonic tales, full of beauty, tragedy, and the sudden horror of shocking images-this is Groff's gift to readers. And what a gift it is. The title story takes us back to Templeton, scene of Groff's debut novel, The Monsters of Templeton, recounting how a sex-slave scandal has stained the town's movers and shakers. Families are leveled; the economy tanks as shamed sinners flee. Meanwhile, the girls themselves are saved by one desperate act of courage. In "L. DeBard and Aliette," Groff updates the doomed romance of 12th-century lovers Abelard and Eloise, setting the story in 1918 New York City, which is reeling from the devastation of the plague. Shotgun teen marriages, mental illness, a promiscuous woman journalist in a war zone, childhood sweethearts who reconnect, a dictator's wife-Groff moves among these wholly unrelated worlds with a vision that happily traps the reader. Highly recommended.
—Beth E. Andersen

Kirkus Reviews
Tales of ordinary transformations and everyday occurrences are made magical in a collection of nine stories by Groff (The Monsters of Templeton, 2008). The details make the difference in this sophomore effort. They range from specific realities, as when a lonely teen swimmer watches her breath rise in "a great silver jellyfish-bubble of air" before her small town falls apart in "Lucky Chow Fun," to dreamlike metaphor, as when another young woman feels her depression as "this black sack filled with cobras" in "Majorette." "Lucky Chow Fun," which returns to Templeton, the fictionalized Cooperstown, N.Y., of the author's debut novel, was previously published, as was the vivid "L. DeBard and Aliette," a retelling of a tragic romance, set in New York during the flu epidemic of 1918. As a collection, the stories are loosely connected by their themes of metamorphosis, as girls grow up, lose their illusions and, often, find unexpected happiness. Images of water and fire run through these tales as well: Aliette, the Heloise substitute, regains her strength after polio via swimming lessons with the handsome L. DeBard, and, in "Watershed," a diver tells of an elderly couple who end their pain by diving into a waterfall. "There is no ending, no neatness in this story," the narrator offers. "There never really is, where water is concerned." The "wild, febrile, kind, ambiguous" nature of the elements may serve to explain the power in these stories, which could have faltered in the hands of a lesser writer. Groff's skill makes commonplace occurrences seem compelling. Agent: Bill Clegg/William Morris Agency
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781401340865
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 1/27/2009
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 689,570
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Lauren Groff

Lauren Groff was born in Cooperstown, New York, and grew up one block from the Baseball Hall of Fame. She has a BA from Amherst College and an MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her short stories have appeared in several literary publications, including The Atlantic Monthly and Ploughshares, as well as in the anthologies Best American Short Stories 2007, Pushcart Prize XXXII, and Best New American Voices 2008. She was awarded the Axton Fellowship in Fiction at the University of Louisville, and has had residencies and fellowships at Yaddo and the Vermont Studio Center. She lives in Gainesville, Florida, with her husband, Clay, and her dog, Cooper.

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    1. Hometown:
      Gainesville, FL, USA
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 23, 1978
    2. Place of Birth:
      Cooperstown, NY, USA
    1. Education:
      BA English and French Literature, Amherst College, 201: MFA in Fiction, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2006
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 25, 2009


    I loved this collection of women's stories. I was impressed with how different they each were, and I was drawn in by each one. I could not put this book down. I look forward to reading Lauren Groff's other works.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Talented New Feminist Fiction Author on the Scene

    Lauren Groff has rendered a surreal, disturbing and provocative collection of short stories in Delicate, Edible Birds. Listen closely for the water trickling through each - a common, mysterious thread amidst very different settings, plots and characters...

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    Posted December 12, 2011

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    Posted January 3, 2011

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    Posted February 19, 2009

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    Posted March 17, 2011

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