Delicate Edible Birds: And Other Stories

Delicate Edible Birds: And Other Stories

4.3 7
by Lauren Groff

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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. 1 MP3 CD.


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. 1 MP3 CD.

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
From the Publisher
"It takes only a few pages to see that Ms. Groff can write—really write."—New York Observer"

Delicate Edible Birds is wonderfully imaginative, subtle and precise, brimming over with brave and fascinating women. . . . A dazzling collection to make all those readers who are wary of short stories think again."—newbooks"

In her strongest writing, Groff echoes the magic of her gothic forebears."—Financial Times"

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."—Publishers Weekly

Product Details

Hachette Books
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Lauren Groff is the author of The Monsters of Templeton, shortlisted for the Orange Prize for New Writers; Arcadia, a New York Times Notable Book, winner of the Medici Book Club Prize, and finalist for the L.A. Times Book Award; and Fates and Furies, a National Book Award finalist. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, Tin House, One Story, McSweeney's, and Ploughshares, and in the anthologies 100 Years of the Best American Short Stories, The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses, PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, and three editions of The Best American Short Stories. She lives in Gainesville, Florida, with her husband and two sons.

Brief Biography

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

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Delicate Edible Birds and Other Stories 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
litpixie 8 months ago
Before this collection I'd read Groff's work in One Story and in an anthology of Best American Short Stories. This is a beautiful collection. Each story is well written and several take sharp turns that aren't completely expected. Possibly the most surprising story was the final story "Delicate Edible Birds" about a group of journals trying to escape Paris just as the Nazis entered. The story is powerful and it stays with you long after you put the book down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JNB415 More than 1 year ago
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.