January 02, 2015
“Nine wildly unique, exquisitely symphonic tales, full of beauty, tragedy, and the sudden horror of shocking images....Groff moves among these wholly unrelated worlds with a vision that happily traps the reader. Highly recommended.” –LIBRARY JOURNAL (Starred Review)
Lauren Groff follows up The Monsters of Templeton, her joyous first novel, with Delicate Edible Birds, 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 “The Wife of the Dictator,” that eponymous wife (“brought back… from [the dictator’s] last visit to America”) grows more desperately, menacingly isolated every day. In the title story, “Delicate Edible Birds,” a group of war correspondents — a lone, high-spirited woman among them — falls sudden prey to a brutal farmer while fleeing Nazis in the French countryside.
Stories from this collection have appeared in journals including the Atlantic Monthly, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, and One Story, and the anthologies The Pushcart Prize XXXII, The Best American Short Stories 2007, edited by Stephen King, Best New American Voices 2008, edited by Richard Bausch, and The Best American Short Stories 2010, edited by Richard Russo.
Buy on Amazon Buy on BN.com Buy at Books-A-Million Buy at iBooks Buy at Indiebound
Hyperion/Voice, 2009 ISBN-10: 1401340865; ISBN-13: 978-1401340865
Tales of ordinary transformations and everyday occurrences are made magical in a collection of nine stories by Groff... 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 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… 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
The richly conceived, finely detailed stories offer portraits of smart, daring women who are in search of, in thrall to, or disillusioned by love. In “Lucky Chow Fun,” winner of a Pushcart Prize, Groff returns to the town of Templeton to tell the story of a high-school swimmer who uncovers the sordid sexual secrets of her seemingly idyllic small town. “L. DeBard and Aliette,” included in the latest edition of Best American Short Stories, is a reimagining of the love story of Abelard and Héloïse that sees the couple recast as an Olympic swimmer and his pupil, both of whom suffer through the flu epidemic of 1918. And in the title story, an unconventional female reporter, fleeing the Nazis in rural France along with a band of male correspondents, must strike a sordid bargain with a brutal farmer to secure their safe passage. Vivid tales from a gifted young writer who continues to surprise.
–JOANNE WILKINSON Booklist
“Groff’s short stories are wholly realized, intricately constructed and compulsively readable. Her odd analogies and images bring new dimension to tales of small-town scandal, love affairs and stunning, incalculable loss.” —MS. MAGAZINE