Delicate Edible Birds and Other Stories: And Other Stories
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Delicate Edible Birds and Other Stories: And Other Stories

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  1,459 ratings  ·  236 reviews
Lauren Groff presents 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 me...more
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Published February 10th 2009 by Tantor Media (first published January 1st 2009)
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karen
i dont usually like stories (i think a few of my reviews start out this way - ha) but i love the way this lady writes. i was hoping after the first story that they would all take place in the same town as monsters of templeton, but no luck. theres one story i definitely need to reread, but i have a feeling i will be picking this up in the future to reread all the way through.
Teresa
3 and 1/2 stars

Because I enjoyed her first novel The Monsters Of Templeton, I thought I'd like this collection more than I did. While I don't think any of the stories are derivative, they seemed familiar as separate stories reminded me of Alice Munro and Amy Bloom (in theme if not style) and even Julie Otsuka (in style if not theme).

The plots are interesting, some even inventive, though the beauties of language and character development vary from story to story. The ending of the story "Watersh...more
Jeanette
4.5 stars

A lot of short stories consist of 10-20 pages of foreplay followed by a big cow flop of a denouement, with nary a climax in sight. Some don't even bother with a denouement, they just end abruptly, leaving the reader with the literary equivalent of lover's nuts. I have given up on many and many a short story collection for this reason.

Happily, Lauren Groff is no tease. Her stories are thoroughly satisfying. She takes a little longer, 30-40 pages per story, and develops a complete pictur...more
Marina
Sometimes when no novel is keeping my attention I turn to my first love in reading which is the short story. When done right, a short story is magical, better than any full length read. Yet again I found a perfect short story, it's the first one I read called "L.DeBard and Aliette" and it was outstanding, mesmerizing and gave me chills thoughout and lleft me sobbing at the end. I fully recommend this collection to everyone based on this story alone. I hope Emily picks up this collection, even if...more
Ally Armistead
"Delicate Edible Birds" is one of the most enjoyable short story collections I've read in years. Lyrical, beautiful, haunting, it is one of those books whose language alone makes you slow down and savor every morsel.

The stories themselves are beautiful, too, each following the arc of female protagonists in the twentieth century. The women themselves are the "delicate edible birds" to which the title refers; the medieval ages metaphor of "byrd" (as bride, as maiden) is used to explore the vulner...more
Stephanie
These stories were all so different from each other, yet they all seemed to have an underpinning quality of sadness to them. These are among the best short stories I have read in a while.
Linda Robinson
The war in my head reading this collection was waged between the remarkable prose and its excellent arrangement and the idea of women as delicate edible birds. The words-arranged with architectural artistry as the tree to support the avian protagonists-are marvels; soaring, ephemeral and gently waving in the breeze. But that breeze! Under the words, under the trees, in the dirt and mud is the dichotomy of mother/wife/community member and raving, raw artisan- the wind stirred by this inner strugg...more
Amy
Not everyone likes short stories. Not even all library students! But to me, a short story can be a beautiful tale, despite its brevity. When well-crafted, they can encapsulate deep truths, within a few pages. I found this to be true within "Delicate Edible Birds," the inaugural collection of short stories by author Lauren Groff, more famously known for her 2008 novel, "The Monsters of Templeton." Groff's nine stories are beautifully told; each very unique; and overall, a tribute to the intricaci...more
Emily Crow
Groff is a good writer, and overall this was a solid, enjoyable collection of stories. She aims quite high here, and almost makes it.

I liked "Lucky Chow Fun" and "Delicate Edible Birds" best. Both stories looked at loss of innocence and its ramifications, one in a small, provincial town, and the other a decision that a woman fleeing a war zone with fellow journalists must make. "Sir Fleeting" and "Watershed" were also quite well done...the latter, especially, was beautifully written.

"The Wife of...more
Rachel
I don't know what it is about short fiction that makes authors think it has to be dark or bleak or at least flat. For some reason there seems to be this belief that it's okay for a novel to be enjoyable, or pleasant and happy; it's okay for the characters in a novel to be people the reader actually likes and cares about, but in a short story, you have so little time to make it mean something, you have to be "experimental." I loved Lauren Groff's novel, The Monsters of Templeton. She dabbled in t...more
Erin
I love reading collections of short stories because I feel it can really show the breadth of an author’s ability. This collection overall is a little dreary (as most short fiction tends to be), but overall Groff definitely pulls off many varying perspectives and creates stories that are definitely memorable. My favorite short fiction is that which can deliver an emotional blow to the reader (seriously, how did you get me to cry in 20 pages?) and a few of these stories definitely do that. The res...more
Marjorie Elwood
A friend (who is an avid reader) and I were talking recently and she said that she doesn't bother with books with unpleasant characters because "if I'm going to spend a couple of hours with a book, I want the characters to be likeable." I couldn't stop thinking about that comment as I read this book, which is populated with unpleasant people. That, and: if you're supposed to write about what you know, then the author has a really messed-up relationship with sex.... Aside from that, the author wr...more
Colleen
Groff has a gift for writing short stories. I usually read a short story collection so I can put it down after each one but this one, I raced on, anxious to read the next and the next. I can't say that I loved every one but the writing made each one worth reading. Here is one of my favorite lines: "When she unwrapped her daughter for the first time, she touched the tender folds of the baby's body, the warm little tires of her neck and lips and eyelids and kneepits. And she, the new mother of a d...more
Judy
I've been intrigued by the reviews of The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff, so when I saw this collection of short stories I snapped it up immediately. And I'm glad that I did. This collection of nine stories is uneven, but when they work, they sing. While the settings and the subjects of the stories differ widely, there are some unifying themes. Images of water and fire infuse these stories. And the stories present a series of young girls who are forced to lose their childhood illusions. Y...more
Catherine
I don't usually read short story collections, but Arcadia was so beautifully written, I decided to give this one a try. It killed me. So beautiful and many of them so sad. Wow. Wow. Wow.

Usually I plow through books, gorging myself, because I'm a book glutton. But with this book, I took my time, savoring one story per night, fully immersing myself in each world Groff created.

My favorites are "L. Debard and Aliette," "Majorette," "Blythe," and the final title story which just gutted me.
Renee
I loved this book; at times the stories felt like the ebb and flow of water, pulling in and then pushing back all at the same time.
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. They are all told by woman who are at different stages, ages, and stations in their lives. I listed to this book on audio and the reader has a superb voice and was a perfect match for the stories.
Wendy
when i started this collection of short stories - well i wasn't moved, too much at all. by the third story, "majorette," i was hooked. discarded my family for the day and read the rest of the book. each short story is a mini novel. fully developed stories that suck you in and complete themselves - no shoddy wrap up endings - real stories with real developed characters and story lines. "blythe" was a devine read, stole the show.
Rachel Watkins
really enjoyed this. i get frustrated reading short stories (b/c if they're GOOD, i want them to be longer!) and these were the perfect length, well-developed, too a few sittings to read each.... highly recommend this collection....
Lori
One of the best collections of short stories I've read in a long time. Each story is unique, which a remarkable achievement. Ms. Groff keeps up the same level of quality that she exhibited in The Monsters of Templeton.
Allyson
I really liked this story collection. I never read her novel but am now intrigued as her "voice" for lack of a better word is great. She has a wry, canny sense of humor that I loved. A little off.
Kelsey
I love, love, love, love the way Lauren Groff writes. Her prose is absolutely beautiful without being overbearing or flowery or pompous. Sometimes I read certain lines that she writes over and over again because they are so beautiful that I just need to take a moment to let the aesthetics of what she is saying sink into my brain. That being said there some really wonderful stories in this book, my favorites being "Lucky Chow Fun" and "Delicate Edible Birds". I think charachter development is one...more
Christine
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 r...more
Claudia Piña
De repente caigo en un libro que está entre mis recomendaciones sin fijarme mucho de que se trata. Después de todo, he encontrado tantas cosas buenas o al menos interesantes en esas recomendaciones que asumo que hay algo para mi ahí. Este libro me llamó la atención por su portada y el título. Esperaba historias femeninas y poéticas y todo lo que esos colores pastelosos sugieren.

No esperaba encontrarme cuentos de hadas. Me está pasando seguido. Por ejemplo, en su momento tampoco sabía que The Sn...more
Jennifer Spiegel
I really like this book. First, there’s the title. Then, there are the stories. The title is somehow tender and savage at the same time. The stories got me. One after the other.

Before my two or three readers gasp, “But she LIKES everything,” let me tell you: It’s Not True. I’m still trying to figure out the politics, if you will, of the book review. Don’t say anything if you don’t have anything nice to say? Never give a bad review? So what good is a review if it’s no review at all?

I don’t know...more
Angela
I'm incredibly picky about what I'll read, but after her short story in The New Yorker I was hooked. It was like love at first sight with this author. Lauren Groff is easily one of the most talented writers of our time and I will read ANYTHING she writes. These stories were INCREDIBLE. I'm making all of my friends read this book immediately so that I'll have people to talk to about it.

I just opened the book so that I could list my favorite stories, but they're all wonderful! I love the way she...more
Superstition Review
“And it is a happy ending, perhaps, in the way that myths and fairy tales have happy endings; only if one forgets the bloody, dark middles…I like to think it’s a happy ending, though it is the middle that haunts me.” – Lucky Chow Fun

After finishing Lauren Groff’s Delicate Edible Birds, I realized that all of her narrators don’t know what they want. Often, they never attain it, and they lose a large part of themselves. They seek happiness, clarity, or love. They yearn for all of the right pieces...more
Jessica
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...more
Melissa
Let's start with the title.

Kinda creepy, huh? Or maybe it's the vegetarian in me that finds it so.

Well, if you're interested sampling a great short story collection, move past the appetizer of a title and settle in for a treat. A delicacy, shall we say.

Delicate Edible Birds is author Lauren Groff's second book, her first being the best-seller The Monsters of Templeton. It's a collection of nine stories, most of which have been published in various literary journals.

Of the nine, I enjoyed the fir...more
Jessa
I could not put this book down, its prose was, as the title suggests, so delicate and beautiful. I finished in 24 hours it was that lovely. Short stories are underrate and wrongly so. Unlike novels, they have a small window to make a big impact and Groff honestly does this with Delicate Edible Birds and Other Stories.

I thought about the title and how I thought the short stories connected, and I believe the thread is connected through the power and frailty. Birds are majestic and beautiful creat...more
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Author reading! 1 19 Jan 24, 2009 05:07PM  
  • Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing: Stories
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  • Memory Wall
  • Tunneling to the Center of the Earth: Stories
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  • Birds of a Lesser Paradise: Stories
  • What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us
  • Death Is Not an Option: Stories
  • The Dead Fish Museum: Stories
  • Girl Trouble: Stories
  • You Think That's Bad
  • Willful Creatures
  • Burning Bright: Stories
  • Vanishing and Other Stories
  • Among the Missing
  • Women and Other Animals: Stories
  • Boys and Girls Like You and Me: Stories
  • Here's Your Hat What's Your Hurry
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Lauren Groff was born in Cooperstown, N.Y. and grew up one block from the Baseball Hall of Fame. She graduated from Amherst College and has an MFA in fiction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Her short stories have appeared or are forthcoming in a number of journals, including The Atlantic Monthly, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, Hobart, and Five Points as well as in the anthologies Best Amer...more
More about Lauren Groff...
The Monsters Of Templeton Arcadia The Masters Review: 2012 The Common: A Modern Sense of Place: Issue 01 The Best American Short Stories 2010 (The Best American Series (R))

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“Depressing thought: my friends were the girls I ate lunch with, all buddies from kindergarten who knew one another so well we weren't sure if we even liked one another anymore.” 17 likes
“And she, the new mother of a daughter, felt a fierceness come over her that seized at her heart, that made her feel as if her bones were turned to steel, as if she could turn herself into a weapon to keep this daughter of hers from having to be hurt by the world outside the ring of her arms.” 8 likes
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