Monday 13 July 2020

When We Were Birds

Finished July 5
When We Were Birds: Stories by Maria Mutch

This collection of stories have a large element of fantasy about them. Elements of the natural world enter the lives of people in unusual and interesting ways. The book has three parts with a few stories in each. Prefacing each story is a photo or drawing, sometimes with a quotation that relates to that story. For instance, in the first story, the peregrine at the end of the world, the image is a diagram plate of a bird skeleton, and the story has a young female peregrine turn into a woman, but one is unsure whether she was a woman that turned into a peregrine, that turned back into a woman, and her fate remains unclear as well. I liked her though. There are also other images within the stories that add meaning.
Other stories include a theft that is both planned and unplanned and results in a different ending than the one the narrator imagined; a woman that believes people go missing and leave some sort of electrical presence behind, but her therapist lover doesn't agree; a hurricane's effect on a marriage; a woman who inexplicably begins to have small messages come out of her; and a man who runs from his lover after she is injured, not looking to help her.
Some stories are reimaginings of fairy tales such as Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, or Bluebeard. Two involve Glenn Gould as a muse.
The stories are mesmerizing and I loved them.

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