Delicate Edible Birds

Lauren Groff
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.


Reviewed: 2018-07-30
Before this collection I'd read Groff's work in One Story and in an anthology of Best American Short Stories. This is a beautiful collection. Each story is well written and several take sharp turns that aren't completely expected. Possibly the most surprising story was the final story "Delicate Edible Birds" about a group of journals trying to escape Paris just as the Nazis entered. The story is powerful and it stays with you long after you put the book down.
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