My review of When We Were Birds by Maria Mutch will follow the publisher’s blurb :

From Governor General’s Literary Awards finalist Maria Mutch comes a startlingly inventive debut collection that recalls the works of Margaret Atwood, Kelly Link, Karen Russell, and Heather O’Neill.

Wolves talk, notes magically appear on a woman’s skin, Red Riding Hood concocts a clever escape, a peregrine turns into a woman with strange compulsions, and a winged man believed to be a famous musician is discovered stranded on a beach.

These deliciously dark and evocative stories masterfully navigate the blurry line between perception and reality, revolving around metamorphosis and transformation, the dichotomy of absence and presence, and the place of women in the world—how they fit in or don’t and how they disappear and reappear in the strangest of ways…

Punctuated with exquisite antique drawings and photographs by the author, When We Were Birds is an intoxicating feat of storytelling that will surprise and delight—leaving you craving more.



May is Short Story Month and I’d like to share with you my review of a collection from Maria Mutch entitled When We Were Birds.

As you know, I’m new to the short story world. This is my second time picking up a short story collection and oddly enough it has the same feel as the first one I read.

If you enjoy stories tumbling towards the dark said, testing the edges, walking the line of the absurd – then you will no doubt enjoy this collection by Maria Mutch. As short stories go, this was perfect for picking up and reading a story when I didn’t have the desire or time to get into the novels I had on my nightstand. I enjoyed dipping my toes into its dreamlike intensity but I don’t think I could have taken on a full length book.  The stories vary in length and one in particular – The Bastard Notebook – gave me the chills.  The stories are a little freakish but elegant at the same time. Please don’t judge me, I’m sticking with freakishly elegant.

What I found exquisite with When We Were Birds was the way Mutch played with words. She is without a doubt a word painter. Her artful description of something I’ve read described many times stopped my breath. And it didn’t happen just once while reading When We Were Birds, it happened over and over. Has that ever happened to you ? Reading something and then – it’s like the world stopped turning ? That’s what I experienced while reading this collection.

I understand that this won’t be for everyone, but if you are looking to expand your reading repertoire do check out this short story collection from Maria Mutch. Also, the cover it art is simply gorgeous !

When We Were Birds by Maria Mutch
Published by Simon & Schuster Canada
256 pages
ISBN 9781501182792
Available Now

** An e-galley of When We Were Birds was provided by the publisher in exchange for my thoughts and review.

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