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Mouthful of Birds

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3.87  ·  Rating details ·  2,417 ratings  ·  463 reviews
A powerful, eerily unsettling story collection from a major international literary star.

Unearthly and unexpected, the stories in Mouthful of Birds burrow their way into your psyche and don't let go. Samanta Schweblin haunts and mesmerizes in this extraordinary, masterful collection.

Schweblin's stories have the feel of a sleepless night, where every shadow and bump in the
...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published January 8th 2019 by Riverhead Books (first published 2009)
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3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,417 ratings  ·  463 reviews


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Paromjit
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
These are a literary collection of short stories by Samanta Schweblin translated from the Spanish. They are rather dark fare, infused with horror, stepping onto the territory of the strange, fantastical, the unexpected and even the supernatural with a strong sense of foreboding. As might be expected by such a large number of stories, from the slight to some that have more substance, they prove to be a mixed bag. To my disappointment the style and approach of storytelling fails to vary. So we hav ...more
Ova - Excuse My Reading
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An unsettling, disturbing set of short stories. Schweblin creates relatable characters with effortless brushes of words only to destroy them by pushing them beyond the borders of humanity. The characters become eeire, inhuman, making some of these stories stink with psychological horror.

Schweblin is a bit of a literary Salvador Dali- taking people and events, bestowing them new forms and dimensions.

I found these stories so refreshing, puzzling and mesmerising. They made my mind work, made me shi
...more
Hannah Greendale
This is a bumpy collection of short stories. Many of them feel unfinished or inconsequential. The most enjoyable are the ones with an element of horror, where there's something decidedly off about the characters and the final lines leave one shuddering and discomfited.

Specifically: "Headlights," "Preserves," "Butterflies," "The Test," "Heads Against Concrete," and, to a lesser extent, "Mouthful of Birds" and "On the Steppe."
With her back to us, standing on her tiptoes, she opened the cage and
...more
Lark Benobi
The first four stories were creepy masterpieces. The rest felt like sketches where Schweblin explores themes that will no doubt be the core of her work as a writer, and that recall the everyday dread of Fever Dream: the weirdness of family; the impossibility of knowing even those you know best; the way everyday routine can decay unexpectedly into chaos and terror. In real life it’s an accident or unexpected illness; in these stories it’s learning your daughter is eating live birds or that the bu ...more
Maxwell
Mar 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really admire Schweblin's boldness—she writes stories that are unsettling and just slightly off, akin to Ottessa Moshfegh, though the latter's are generally a bit more grotesque or filthy. Major props to Megan McDowell for a seamless translation as well. Though I preferred some stories over others (as with any collection), there really were no stories I disliked. I appreciated that she never overwrites; all the stories are between 5-20 pages, give or take a few. Though some tend to be more on ...more
Franco  Santos
Samanta Schweblin probablemente sea la escritora argentina del momento. Antes de este, había leído Distancia de rescate, novela corta que me sirvió para descubrir qué clase de autora estaba leyendo. Como aquel me gustó mucho, no podía postergar más la lectura de sus cuentos, de los cuales había leído numerosas críticas favorables rondando por todos lados. Ahora, con el libro ya acabado, puedo decir que Schweblin no solo es una escritora ambiciosa e imaginativa, sino que es un experta en el manej ...more
Bilal Y.
Dec 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Birbirinden harika on sekiz öykü okuduğumu düşünüyorum. Böyle iyi öyküler verin bana diğer türlerden vazgeçerim yeminle. Sonradan keşfettiğim bu türün sadece Türkiye, Amerika, bilemedin Rusya'yla sınırlı kaldığını sanıyordum. Ama şimdi türün diğer kıtalara, diğer coğrafyalara uzanan kolları olduğunu biliyorum. Buradaki Arjantin'den. Genç yazar Schweblin'in temeli sağlamdır, Borges gibi duayen var. Ama onun kökleri, beslendiği damarlar arka kapakta da bahsi yapıldığı üzere ülke sınırlarını aşmış. ...more
Paul Fulcher
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Book 3/13 for me from the Man Booker International 2019 longlist

Samanta Schweblin's 2014 first novel Distancia de rescate, when translated into English as Fever Dream by the wonderful Megan McDowell, was one of my books of 2017, and my pick of the Man Booker International longlist. Powerful, unsettling, gripping, a book that genuinely disturbed my dreams. My review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

Translated again by McDowell, Mouthful of Birds: Stories was, per the copyright page 'origi
...more
Doug
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5, rounded up.

I was not a huge fan of Schweblin's first work to be translated into English, Fever Dream, but found it interesting enough to want to see what this second volume held. And although (standard disclaimer), I am also not a huge fan of short stories, most of these 'worked' for me, and none of the 20 contained herein are absolute duds (although I could have done without the animal abuse in 'The Test' :-( ) . Most of them are surreally creepy, kind of a hodgepodge of Poe and Kafka, and
...more
Teresa
May 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: n-argentina, g-contos, 5e
Primeiro vou pensar nas estrelas. Terão de ser cinco, mas nem sei bem porquê...
Porque é um desafio à minha imaginação? Porque tudo é irreal e com finais inexplicados...
Porque me inquietou? Com o temor do que me esperaria no final...
Porque me fascinou? Pelo ambiente onírico, pela ambiguidade das personagens, pelo exótico das situações...
Porque...?

. Um homem pequenino que precisa da mulher para chegar ao frigorífico;
. Um homem que se transforma num menino por medo da sua mãe;
. Um homem que assassi
...more
Fábio Martins
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Uma boa parte de nós conhecerá " Twilight zone""; a antológica série da década de 60, criada por Rod Serling e que marcou inúmeras gerações daí em diante. Pequenas narrativas de curta duração ( 20 minutos?) Que nos colocavam tendencialmente num qualquer Universo paralelo, em situações habitualmente tensas, bizarras e inesperadas. O que se retirava de cada episódio estabelecia paralelo com o quotidiano "normal" de onde decorria uma mensagem messiânica, uma advertência do presente vindouro ou,na p ...more
Coos Burton
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: antologias, terror
Agradezco a la editorial Penguin Random House por el ejemplar.

Hace un tiempo estaba viendo una entrevista en la que Mariana Enríquez recomendaba autores de Argentina que se acercan o escriben terror, y entre esos se encontraba Samanta Schweblin. Automáticamente me generó curiosidad y busqué más sobre la autora. Con "Pájaros en la boca" confirmé lo que sospechaba: su acercamiento al terror radica en lo inquietante, lo indecible y lo crudo en sus cuentos. Son historias retorcidas y crueles, con fi
...more
Simon
Jan 17, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars really.
Lee
Feb 28, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first story reads like Borges meets Carter, but none of the others matches it for atmosphere or creepy coherence. After the first three or so the level drops a fair bit, and but for the occasional moment thereafter (and a couple of stories simply didn’t work at all for me), like Fever Dream, it’s accomplished and very readable but good rather than great.
Guadalupe Campos
Sospecho que buena parte de mi problema con este viene de que me lo recomendaron demasiado. Tal vez si hubiera venido con expectativas más bajas, me hubiera resultado un libro interesante, y sus fallas me hubieran parecido menos estridentes. Porque en general es un libro, digamos, correcto.
Pero llegó como llegó, hiper-recomendado.
No hace mucho, cierto amigo baterista insistía en que un disco que mantiene el mismo tempo en todos los temas es aburrimiento garantizado. Y algo de eso se me venía a l
...more
Marchpane
Jul 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
A solid collection of eerie, horror-inflected stories, some very short, only a couple of pages. There’s a Twilight Zone or even Edgar Allan Poe kind of vibe to each of them, but very much updated for modern times.

These stories are nowhere near as trippy and confounding as Schweblin’s novella, Fever Dream, which could be a plus or a minus depending on how you felt about that book. For me, it’s very much a plus. I enjoyed Fever Dream well enough, but I remember thinking it would work better as a
...more
Jerrie (redwritinghood)
While I liked the taut, evocative writing and the gorgeous cover, the stories themselves often felt empty to me. These stories are absurd and sometimes horrific, but horror and absurdity alone are not enough for me. There are some really great stories here, but not enough to make up for the more so-so ones.
Antonomasia
[3.5] Reasonable collection of unsettling stories, with a handful of interesting pieces, but not amazing.

I've not read Fever Dream, but have been thinking about possible comparisons with other Latin American-Spanish authors, such as classic Mexican literary-horror writer Amparo Davila, whom I first heard of through the hommage The Iliac Crest, and recently I read one short story by Horacio Quiroga. Perhaps someone who has read more of these authors can comment how much Schweblin owes to them (a
...more
Neil
Mar 21, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-mbi, 2019, last-month
I read Samanta Schweblin’s book Fever Dream when it was listed for the Man Booker International in 2017. It was a stand out book because it was so beautifully creepy and very unsettling. It meant that I approached this book slightly nervously: was this going to lead to another couple of disturbed nights’ sleep with weird dreams.

Unfortunately, it turns out I didn’t really need to worry. There are some strange stories here, but nothing with the creep-factor of Fever Dream.

We start (Headlights) wit
...more
jeremy
Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
mouthful of birds (pájaros en la boca) comprises twenty stories from samanta schweblin's 2009 collection (which, in the original spanish, featured eighteen). schweblin, author of last year's haunting and unforgettable novel, fever dream , is among the distinguished company celebrated on the 2017 bogotá39 list of promising young spanish-language writers (ten years later, its 2007 forebear is a veritable who's who of latin american authors). born in argentina, but residing in germany, schweblin e ...more
Samuel Ch.
Apr 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biblioteca
En una analogía con el boxeo, Cortázar dice que, mientras la novela debe ganar por decisión, el cuento debe hacerlo por knockout. Eso es justo lo que ocurre con cada relato de Pájaros en la boca. Uno cae fulminado, choca contra el suelo (SU suelo) y debe volver a la esquina para recuperar el aliento y ver qué más tiene Shweblin para ofrecer.
Con personajes sumamente erráticos, las historias aquí presentadas vienen de otro universo, otras costumbres, otra riqueza del valor narrativo. Lejos de sus
...more
Eric Anderson
Feb 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Like many people, I was fascinated by the surreal atmosphere and ambiguous meaning of Argentinian writer Samanta Schweblin's novel “Fever Dream” when it first appeared in English a couple of years ago. Now a collection of her short fiction has just been published and it's of a similar sinister vibe with odd twists of logic that often veer into near nightmares. Here are stories of children that transform into butterflies, businessmen who are turned into farm hands, a dissatisfied wife who meets a ...more
João Carlos

Samanta Schweblin (n. 1978)

Samanta Schweblin (n. 1978) é uma jovem escritora argentina que publicou ”Pássaros na Boca” em 2009 reunindo dezoito contos.
Todos os contos de ”Pássaros na Boca” transportam o leitor para mundos fantásticos e surreais, causando-nos simultaneamente estranheza e atracção, contendo incontáveis elementos de mistério; inúmeras histórias obscuras que muitas das vezes nos confundem, exigindo uma leitura atenta ou a releitura, com personagens invulgares e extravagantes, que a
...more
Blair
Nov 09, 2018 marked it as dnf-arcs
Shelves: 2019-release
I read six and a half stories from this collection of 20. I was unimpressed enough by those to feel fine about abandoning it. There's a common theme of high-concept stories that are nothing more – they introduce something weird or horrifying, and that's pretty much it. 'Butterflies' is particularly terrible; it reads like the first thing a beginner might come up with at a creative writing workshop. A few of the others, particularly the title story, have better development, but still don't feel l ...more
Tommi
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
[4.5] First, a confession: I have not read Samanta Schweblin’s Man Booker International shortlisted and Tournament of Books winner Fever Dream. I have not read the book, not even though I had the privilege to hear Schweblin speak at a local literary event last summer. She was wonderful, and rather surprisingly I can still recall bits and pieces of the discussion. For one, she talked about the ways that each reader constructs different mental images of a sentence as simple as, say, “there were sh ...more
Michael
Samanta Schweblin has almost become a household name. Her novella Fever Dreams has been one of the most talked about books in translation in recent years. It won so many awards, including the Shirley Jackson Award (2017), The Tournament of Books (2018), it made the Man Booker International Prize shortlist (2017) and the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation longlist (2017). Needless to say, when it was announced Mouthful of Birds was getting an English translation there was plenty of buzz surro ...more
Merve Eflatun
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5/5
Ağızdaki Kuşlar "İnsan önündeki sorunların kendinden kaynaklandığını ve mağlubiyetinde pay sahibi olduklarını keşfetmeyegörsün, her şey değişir." gibi harika açılış cümleleri ve kapanışlar barındırıyor. Schweblin'in kurduğu tekinsizlik O'Connor'u ya da Jackson'u andırıyor olsa da, tekinsizliği işleyiş biçimi daha samimi geldi bana.
★★★★★
Çaresiz Kadınlar
Devrim Rüyası
Her Şeyin Ölçüsü
Kardeşim Walter
★★★★★
Ludmilla
May 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favoriler
Mü-kem-mel!
Lu Monteblanco
No creo que puedan ser calificados como cuentos de terror. Hay un par muy buenos: Cabezas contra el asfalto, Pájaros en la boca, Sueño de revolución, La pesada valija de Benavides, Conservas.
Rita
May 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: n-argentina
Não há um conto melhor do que outro, todos são de uma qualidade extraordinária. Gostar mais de uns do que de outros é apenas gosto pessoal.

Os meus favoritos:

Irman
Pássaros na boca
Cabeças no asfalto
Matar um cão
A pesada mala de Benavides

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Samanta Schweblin was chosen as one of the 22 best writers in Spanish under the age of 35 by Granta. She is the author of three story collections that have won numerous awards, including the prestigious Juan Rulfo Story Prize, and been translated into 20 languages. Fever Dream is her first novel and is longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize. Originally from Buenos Aires, she lives in Be ...more
“El mundo lo que tiene es una gran crisis de amor, y de que, al fin y al cabo, no son buenos tiempos para la gente muy sensible.” 9 likes
“Yo no era violento, quiero aclarar esto. Solo hablaba si era estrictamente necesario, no tenía amigos pero tampoco enemigos, y lo único que hacía en los recreos era esperar sólo en el silo, lejos del ruido del patio, hasta que la clase volviera a empezar. Esperaba dibujando. Eso apuraba el tiempo y me apartaba del mundo. [...] Yo seguía dibujando, y nadie tocaba mis dibujos porque sabían que yo creía en el bien y en el mal, y me molesta todo lo relacionado con lo segundo.” 2 likes
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