January 21, 2009

Review: Delicate Edible Birds

Delicate Edible Birds
by Lauren Groff
(author of The Monsters of Templeton)

The first thing I noticed in this story collection when I received it was the beautiful cover. The color of my graphic to the left is more of a sky blue but the cover I have has more of a pale green mixed in with it. "My gosh!" I thought. "This book was made to sit on my coffee table." (Let's just forget that I don't have a coffee table for the moment, shall we?) My living room is currently being redone in shades of pale blues, greens and very dark browns and blacks, with a bird theme. And I love black metal scroll work with all its whirlygigs. So this book got a high mark from the get go for matching my decor.

Then I read it.

Wow! I have a serious crush on Lauren Groff and her magic pen or laptop or whatever. Her descriptions are imaginative and unique. She is most certainly not cliché. She is original and dynamic. Her words have force and depth. She can give you a fully developed story with history and dimension in just a few pages. Most writers would take 300 pages to develop a story to equal what Groff writes in just 30 pages. I can say with all sincerity that this is my favorite short story collection. Here's the rundown of stories:

Lucky Chow Fun - Groff has revisited the small town of Templeton to share how a teenage girl experiences the uncovering of a terrible town secret.

L. DeBard and Aliette - My favorite story in the collection, I believe it to be a love story to rival Romeo and Juliet. It's that good.

Majorette - The unfolding of a girl's life and the influences that shape the woman she becomes.

Blythe - This woman has a serious case of Manic Depressiveness going on. People are held captive as Blythe spirals into creative catastrophe.

The Wife of the Dictator - the woman whose quiet agonies inspire a man of war.

Watershed - a woman tells the story of how she wins and loses the love of her life. Very heartbreaking.

Sir Fleeting - a frumpy farm girl attracts the notice of a gorgeous playboy but neither of them can fulfill each others deepest needs.

Fugue - a teenager is sent to live with a family in the country and learns a little about the messiness of life.

Delicate Edible Birds - Can a woman of no morals give up on her principles?

Every time I started a story I knew I had to read to the end. And each ending brought a flood of emotions, whether good or bad, confusion or clarity. It's a short story collection for the true lover of character but it has enough story for everyone. I very highly recommend this book, and not just because it's beautiful to behold. More because it contains so much beauty.

Preorder this book at Amazon.


bermudaonion said...

I love the cover too and I can't wait to read this one!

Anonymous said...

ALT+130 will get you the accent ("accent aigu").

Petunia said...

Bermudaonion-I hope you like it as much as I did.

Christine-Thanks for the info. Unfortunately, I have tried and tried but the accent mark won't show up.

Petunia said...

Hey, Christine! I figured it out! Thanks for the help.

Tasha said...

This sounds great. I'll add it to my list. I love the cover, too. Thank You for your review!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this great review - I've had this book on my radar for a while, and it's part of a new short story challenge blog I read about the other day (which I can no longer remember).

Anyway, I'm definitely getting it. Right now.

Tara said...

I have an advance copy of this and haven't gotten to it yet - partly b/c I'm not a big short story reader, partly b/c the only review I've read was negative! So I'm really glad to see this. Thanks.

Zibilee said...

All of these stories sound good, but a few of them (Fugue & Blythe) sound fantastic. This is something I am going to have to read. Thanks for the enticing review!

Alyce said...

I had to come over and check out your review, and I must say that I think you did a wonderful job reviewing these stories! I agree with you that her writing is beautiful. Upon finishing each story I felt full, like I had read an entire novel.

Ti said...

Thank you for pointing me towards your review. This sounds absolutely wonderful and you are right, I am the kind of person that steers clear of short stories because I just don't feel as if I ever get to know the characters but I am eager to try this one now.

Melissa said...

Great review! I just finished this tonight and will be adding your review as a link to mine.