Mouthful of Birds is a collection of translated stories by an Argentinian writer, Samanta Schweblin. The stories are all perfectly well told, and all of them slightly odd, but reading them one after the other can feel somewhat mechanistic.
The stories are (mostly) very short, lack any real framing and pitch straight into a situation that appears normal but turns out to be a bit surreal. Once you know that it's going to have a weird angle, you start to anticipate it and the effect dims. And while the stories are well crafted and lucidly told, it is very difficult to recall anything about them after finishing the book. Even the last story - which you'd think might be the easiest to recall - had me diving back into the text just to remember what it was (it was murder as performance art). I have a recollection of abandoned brides, and a train that never stops, but little else.
On this basis, and without being able to point to anything specific at fault, it feels like a 3-star read.
Review of Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin, translated by Megan McDowell.
This novel is narrated by Amanda, a woman on her death bed where she is talking to a boy named David. The events Amanda is recalling in this novel occurs when she and her daughter Nina go on holiday to the country with her husband working in the city. While in the country, she meets David and his mother Carla. From this she learns of when Carla's husband's borrowed stallion is poisoned and a story revolving about supernatural and feverish dream. A theme being parental concern for their children
Schweblin leaves it up to the reader to make of what they will of the novel, the tone is one of foreboding and one where there is a hurry on Amanda narrating as she is approaching her end. A really well written intricate novel and not a really long read at 150 pages (I did it on Saturday).
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