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Delicate Edible Birds: And Other Stories Hardcover – Bargain Price, January 27, 2009

4.1 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, January 27, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

From 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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From Booklist

Following the publication of Groff’s first novel, The Monsters of Templeton (2008), comes this collection of nine short stories, six of which have never been published. 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
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Voice; 1 edition (January 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401340865
  • ASIN: B002DYJKVG
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,179,749 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By B. A. Chaney VINE VOICE on February 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Lauren Groff's "Delicate Edible Birds" is a collection of nine short stories that deal with the intimate details of women's lives in the face of adversity. Unlike many story collections, each of Groff's stories is unique--they are all told by women of different ages, perspectives, and stations in life--so you don't feel like you are reading the same short story retold multiple times in a single volume. Groff gives each of her women a strong narrative voice, rich with the emotions attached to their situations.

My favorite stories in this volume included Lucky Chow Fun, in which a small town ripped apart by a sex scandal is chronicled by a high school girl; Majorette, which traces the life of an under-appreciated young woman as she uses baton twirling to aid her growth into a capable woman who raises a confident daughter; and Watershed, the story of a reckless love affair that ends in tragedy. All of the stories in this volume are as different and rich as these three, and they each leave you wishing for just a little bit longer glimpse into these women's lives.

I would recommend this volume of short stories to anyone who enjoys reading stories about strong women in the face of adversity. These stories are rich and memorable. I can't wait to see what is next from the obviously talented Groff.
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Format: Hardcover
I've never read "Monsters at Templeton," apparently Groff's masterpiece with rave reviews posted everywhere by some mighty minds. But I picked up "Delicate, Edible Birds" at the library during a bird phase, where I blindly gathered only books with nature-driven artwork. I returned home to find three bird covers, one butterfly cover and one tree with a bird cover. Odd but true.

Anyway, I hadn't realized the book was a compilation of stories, something normally unappealing to me, and didn't begin reading it until I was finished with the others. But the first few pages in I was already gripped with intrigue, flipping pages like a madwoman. I'm jealous of Groff's prose, how she wrangles words across the page. It's commanding yet subtle. Her stories are devastating, beautiful, cold, heartfelt, all, depending on the page.

I'll pick up "Monsters" on my next library trip and read anything else Groff writes.
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Format: Hardcover
Love, love, love this book.
I hate when short stories leave you hanging with no ending. I feel like, well why did I read that? I learned nothing. Not with this book. All the stories are different and unique but they all have a point and really hit you. They are mostly sexual in nature. Not to say pornographic by any nature but they do revolve around sex or a relationship so if that is not your cup of tea then I would avoid, but if not then pick this one up, it is wonderful. If you grab it off the shelf to have a look, don't start with the first story, it is actually one of my least favorites. Maybye start with the second.
Enjoy!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Overall, I was disappointed. A few of the early stories were excellent, capturing small town prejudice and an overwhelming sense of melancholy. Most of these short works are more vignettes than traditional short stories, attempting to portray an entire lifetime . I really disliked "Blythe," "Fugue," and the title story, "Delicate Edible Birds." I liked "L DeBard and Aliette" and "Majorette," but a all of Groff's store have a certain thinness, which I believe is the result of trying to capture the entire life of so many of her characters. I will try to read her new novel and see if I like it any better.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased this collection based solely on the strength of the story after which the collection is named, "Delicate Edible Birds," eager and optimistic. And though I still stand by the beauty and near-perfection of "Delicate Edible Birds," a story about journalists during WW2, I found many of the other stories boring or completely forgettable. It wasn't that the stories were inherently uninteresting--in fact, Groff has included truly intriguing and interesting situations and characters and her prose is both beautiful and evocative--but that they at times included such convoluted story lines, dragged out, predictable plots, or such dense passages of the aforementioned prose that I, more often than I'd like to admit, found myself eagerly checking how many pages remained until the story ended.

Not all of the stories here are bad or boring: "Lucky Chow Fun" was interesting and written with a firm, insightful finger on the pulse of small town life, "L. DeBard and Aliette" was entertaining though painfully predictable, and "Delicate Edible Birds" contains such finely crafted, expertly written characters almost to redeem the tedious and meandering "Fugue" that precedes it. Many of the stories are completely forgettable, unfortunately, including "Watershed," "Sir Fleeting," and "Blythe," stories that contained strong essential elements but that somehow failed in execution.

Groff is obviously a talented writer--I just don't believe this collection succeeds in representing all that she is, by the merit of her stronger stories alone, clearly capable of.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a book of short stories, each with its own feel. Very little dialog - more a 3rd person story telling book. Each story has several thought provoking passages and an overarching lesson / question.
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