Kimberly Faith's Reviews > Delicate Edible Birds and Other Stories

Delicate Edible Birds and Other Stories by Lauren Groff
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's review
Oct 12, 2011

it was amazing

Laura Groff writes intimidating stories. They are often in Best American Short Story volumes and there's no questioning it. This girl can write and can teach with her writing. Her sentences are stirring and her ideas are epic. She's as at ease writing about contemporary life as the flu epidemic of 1818 or war correspondents fleeing Nazis. The fact that she covers such challenging topics in the short story form further attests to her skill. After reading this collection, I felt humbled and grateful. Groff is going to be an ongoing resource for a sure fire amazing read when in need.

She studied in the MFA Program at University of Wisconsin - Madison with Lorrie Moore, among others. You can see a few similarities. Groff is much more subtle with her humor but when there is an opportunity for it, she hits it everytime like a bullseye. What follows are some favorite passages but at the very end is an example of a Moore-ism that Groff may or may not have culled from studying with Moore. As a fellow MFA graduate (though NYU), I find these relics charming and there's no question that Groff is a fierce talent all her own.

"I like to think it's a happy ending, though it is the middle that haunts me."
From "Lucky Chow Fun"

"You'll remember this Spring, how, after the snow melted, the lake rose and didn't stop rising. March was soggy with rain, April drenched. In the hills, the beaver dams broke and spread diseased water into the rain-slapped lake until it was the color of a bruise. The river couldn't drain it fast enough, and roared thick and brown over the bridges, carrying the bloated bodies of unwary cows and deer down into the current toward Harrisburg. By June, our basement walls wept between the stones. Water seeped to ankle level, then to mid-calf. In the corner, the cardboard boxes weakened the broke apart, and when they did they spilled still-wrapped wedding gifs into the murk."
From "Watershed"

"...At the wake, avoiding my eye over the cold cuts (funeral meats, I thought; terrible expression)."
From "Watershed"

An example of a Lorrie Moore rub-off is her use of threes that Groff also does expertly: "Laura Ashley cabbage roses, poofy sleeves, ridiculous."

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