The Kindle First selection committee wondered if I thought The Bird Eater was too scary to be included in the program. “Yes,” I said, “and that’s why we should include it.” Let’s be absolutely clear here, folks: this is a horror story, but it’s more than that—it’s a great novel. If you are afraid of the dark, the best way to overcome it isn’t to hide away but to turn on a light. And that’s what The Bird Eater is like—you aren’t just reading it, you’re facing it.
Ania challenges familiar horror tropes in her writing, and in The Bird Eater she trains her pen on the haunted-house story. Her protagonist, Aaron, must endure unimaginable loss as a child and then as a father. After twenty years, he returns home, where hallucinations mix with flashbacks, ghosts with reality, and Ania’s prose coils around itself until the reader is breathless.
Then there are the dead birds. Ornithology students should probably be wary, although the way in which Ania incorporates flight and winged imagery is both beautiful and macabre, such as comparing a pair of bloody handprints to “a butterfly under glass.”
The Bird Eater is one to read on a windy night, when the trees bend and the shuffling of leaves could be mistaken for the flapping of wings. Welcome to the darkness.
- Alex Carr, Acquiring Editor