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Mouthful of Birds: Stories



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Brief Description:

“Originally published, in Spanish and in somewhat different form, as Pâajaros en la boca by Random House Mondadori in 2010”

Brief Description:

“Schweblin’s stories have the feel of a sleepless night, where every shadow and bump in the dark take on huge implications, leaving your pulse racing, and the line between the real and the strange blur” –

Review Quotes:

“Schweblin is among the most acclaimed Spanish-language writers of her generation…. [H]er true ancestor could only be David Lynch; her tales are woven out of dread, doubles and confident loose ends…. What makes Schweblin so startling as a writer, however, what makes her rare and important, is that she is impelled not by mere talent or ambition but by vision, and that vision emerges from intense concern with the world, with the hidden cruelties in our relationships with all that is vulnerable — children, rivers, language, one another.” – New York Times

“The author’s flair for intertwining surrealism with delicate emotionality is again on full display in Mouthful of Birds, a collection of short stories that sit somewhere between miniature mysteries and fairy tales. In this slim and superb book, Schweblin takes on the desire to love, to parent, and to care for one’s own body–hardly extraordinary themes–and invests them with a fresh poignancy.” – Vogue

“Admirers of Schweblin’s work will be delighted to learn that she hasn’t lost any of the atmospheric creepiness that made Fever Dream such an unsettling ride. Mouthful of Birds, is just as ethereal and bizarre as its predecessor, and it proves that Schweblin is a master of elegant and uncanny fiction…. Schweblin is gifted at treating the otherworldly with a matter-of-fact attitude, writing about the surreal as if it were unremarkable…. And her writing, beautifully translated by Megan McDowell, is consistently perfect; she can evoke more feelings in one sentence than many writers can in a whole story. Fans of literature that looks at the world from a skewed point of view will find much to love in Schweblin’s book, and so will anyone who appreciates originality and bold risk-taking. Mouthful of Birds is a stunning achievement from a writer whose potential is beginning to seem limitless.” –NPR

“[T]he stories cumulatively summon a world in which the civilized is constantly receding and to be a human is to live in a state of desperation.” – The New Yorker

“Intense… [has] a visceral effect as Schweblin navigates the extremes of her characters’ actions and thoughts, both healing and destructive.” – Booklist

“In simple, uncluttered prose, these stories manage to dismantle society’s accepted norms then prompt you wonder how to navigate morality without them and question why we ever accepted them in the first place.” – BroadlyPraise for Fever Dream2017 International Man Booker Prize finalist

“To call Schweblin’s novella eerie and hallucinatory is only to gesture at its compact power; the fantastical here simply dilates a reality we begin to accept as terrifying and true…. Schweblin’s book is suffused with haunting images and big questions.” – New York Times Book Review

“A nauseous, eerie read, sickeningly good.” –Emma Cline, The Girls

“Subtle, dreamy and indelibly creepy.” – The Economist (Best Books of 2017)”Never have I ever been so afraid to read a book right before bed.” – Marie Claire

“A spare, hypnotic literary page-turner.” – O, The Oprah Magazine

“Mesmerizing… Schweblin, though, is an artist of remarkable restraint… Schweblin renders psychological trauma with such alacrity that the conceit of a poisoned environment feels almost beside the point.” –The Washington Post

“This small debut novel packs a mighty, and lingering, punch…. [A] compact, but explosive, package. Schweblin delivers a skin-prickling masterclass in dread and suspense…. With virtuoso skill, well served in Megan McDowell’s finely textured translation, Schweblin fuses a study in maternal anxiety with an ecological horror story. She refracts both strands through the eerie prism of her narrative, almost as if Henry James had scripted a disaster movie about toxic agribusiness.” –The Economist


Review Citations:
  • Kirkus Reviews 10/15/2018 (EAN 9780399184628, Hardcover)
  • Library Journal Prepub Alert 08/01/2018 pg. 63 (EAN 9780399184628, Hardcover)
  • Publishers Weekly 09/17/2018 (EAN 9780399184628, Hardcover) – *Starred Review
  • Library Journal 10/01/2018 pg. 57 (EAN 9780399184628, Hardcover) – *Starred Review
  • Shelf Awareness 01/22/2019 (EAN 9780399184628, Hardcover)
  • Booklist 12/01/2018 pg. 25 (EAN 9780399184628, Hardcover)

Contributor Bio: Samanta Schweblin

is the author of the novel, Fever Dream, a finalist for the Man Booker International Prize and her first book translated into English. She was chosen as one of the twenty-two best writers in Spanish under the age of 35 by Granta and is on the Bogotá39-2017 list. Her stories in Spanish have won numerous awards, including the prestigious Juan Rulfo Story Prize, and in English have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, and elsewhere. Her work has been translated into twenty languages. Originally from Buenos Aires, she lives in Berlin.


Paperback, Audio, Hardcover