Lauren Groff follows up The Monsters of Templeton, her joyous first novel, with Delicate Edible Birds, 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 meets another full-time mother, one whose charismatic brilliance changes everything. In "The Wife of the Dictator," that eponymous wife ("brought back... from [the dictator's] last visit to America") grows more desperately, menacingly isolated every day. In the title story, "Delicate Edible Birds," a group of war correspondents — a lone, high-spirited woman among them — falls sudden prey to a brutal farmer while fleeing Nazis in the French countryside.
Stories from this collection have appeared in journals including the Atlantic Monthly, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, and One Story, and the anthologies The Pushcart Prize XXXII, The Best American Short Stories 2007, edited by Stephen King, Best New American Voices 2008, edited by Richard Bausch, and The Best American Short Stories 2010, edited by Richard Russo.