Delicate Edible Birds and Other Stories, by Lauren Groff

by Jessica Anderson on December 28, 2010

in Fiction, Review Copy, Reviews

Delicate Edible Birds

Title: Delicate Edible Birds and Other Stories
Author: Lauren Groff
Pages: 320
Originally Published: 2009
Format I Read: Hardback
Publisher: Voice/Hyperion
Rating: [rating:5]

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I received this book for free from the publisher. All content and opinions are my own.

I may have been living under some kind of rock, but I’d never heard of Lauren Groff before I received a review copy of her short story collection, Delicate Edible Birds.  I have now made it my mission to track down everything on her back list and to watch for all forth coming works.  Because these nine stories are treasures, every one.

  • “Lucky Chow Fun” – the fate of the servers at the new Chinese restaurant in the fictional town of Templeton say a lot about the inhabitants of the town.
  • “L DeBard and Aliette” – this haunting story takes place during the 1918 influenza epidemic and concerns the love story of two champion swimmers, L. DeBard and Aliette.
  • “Majorette” – in this story, a little girl suffers a rather horrible childhood and comes of age, making something different of herself.
  • “Blythe” – The title character sucks Harriet into a decades-long co-dependent relationship where Blythe takes and Harriet gives, to the detriment of her other relationships.
  • “The Wife of the Dictator” – the wives of the ambassadors to a foreign country watch with little sympathy as the fate of the unlikely wife of the dictator plays out.
  • “Watershed” – a wedding changes a not-so-very-young woman’s life, for the better and then for the worse.
  • “Sir Fleeting” – one woman recounts her life-long flirtation with a man named Ancel de Chair.
  • “Fugue” – the owners and guests of a small and rather deserted inn are not quite what they seem.
  • “Delicate Edible Birds” – this titular story tells the tale of Bernice “Bern”, a war correspondent, and her fellow, male, correspondent evacuees from the German invasion of Paris.

Okay, the descriptions DO NOT do these stories justice.  You’ll just need to read them, as they are . . . captivating. Each story is clever, well-written, and interesting. To the very end. I’m was somewhat hesitant to start this book as, even if I like a few stories, I generally have to force myself through an entire collection.  But in Delicate Edible Birds, as each story concluded, I found myself wishing, in a good way, that there was more about those characters.  Then, as I started up the next story in the collection, I found myself equally enthralled with the new story and new batch of characters. This is a collection that I will keep and reread every story from time to time.  There are not many collections I can say that about.  Get it.  Read it!

Delicate Edible Birds and Other Stories, by Lauren Groff [rating:5]

Other Reviews:
At Home with Books
Educating Petunia
Farm Lane Books Blog
Largehearted Boy
Linus’s Blanket
Pudgy Penguin Perusals
Ratskellar Reads

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenny December 30, 2010 at 1:50 pm

Does she have a big backlist? I’ve only heard of The Monsters of Templeton. #feelsignorant I should try her short stories!

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BuriedInPrint January 1, 2011 at 10:52 am

I loved her debut novel, but still need to go back to read her stories: thanks for encouraging me to get there faster!

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Erin January 5, 2011 at 1:32 pm

I’m not a big short story reader, but I have read a few collections I’ve enjoyed and am open to trying others. The cover of this one is so lovely, I just might have to give it a shot!

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