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Mouthful of Birds


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About the Author

Samanta Schweblin is the author of three story collections that have won numerous awards, including the prestigious Juan Rulfo Story Prize, and been translated into twenty languages. Her debut novel Fever Dream was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2017. Originally from Buenos Aires, she lives in Berlin.

Megan McDowell has translated books by many contemporary South American and Spanish authors, and her translations have been published in The New Yorker, Harper's and The Paris Review. She lives in Chile.


'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, Most Anticipated Books of 2019 *

'The Grimm brothers and Franz Kafka pay a visit to Argentina in Samanta Schweblin's darkly humorous tales of people who have slipped through cracks or fallen down holes into alternate realities.'

-- J.M. Coetzee

'The author of the magnetic, scalp-prickling Fever Dream returns with stories as Gothic and incantatory as a telltale heart- virtuoso fiction from Argentina's own Edgar Allan Poe.'

* Oprah Magazine *

'Spritely and uncanny, this is a beautifully imagined and skilfully executed collection of stories.'

* International Booker Prize judges *

'So strange and beautiful.'

* Tommy Orange, author of There There *

'Impressive... Schweblin is among the most acclaimed Spanish-language writers of her generation.'

* New York Times *

'This is our world, and sharp-focused, but stripped of its usual meanings... Brutal violence is twisted into horrific, intensely experienced art.'

* Guardian *

'These wild, unsettling, absurdist tales cement her status as a penetrating voice in modern fiction.'

* New Statesman *

'[Schweblin's] particular genius lies in the fact that there's something inherently savage and ungovernable about her work... The finest offerings here beg to be illustrated by Paula Rego then animated by David Lynch... Schweblin herself puts it best: "Horror and beauty! What a combination!"

* Financial Times *

'Starting a story by the Argentinian Samanta Schweblin is like tumbling into a dark hole with no idea where you'll end up.'

* Chris Power, The Sunday Times *

'Samanta Schweblin's strange, haunting and stunningly beautiful collection of short stories... Many of these stories got under my skin and lingered with me long after I'd put the book down.'

* Jan Carson, author of The Fire Starters *

'At once fantastically out there and real to the point of being haunting.'

* Vanity Fair *

'Schweblin is adept at creating...surreal images, distilled from our latent desires and preoccupations.'

* Spectator *

'Delving into the cryptic depths of the human psyche, this is a highly imaginative and thought-provoking collection, deftly translated by Megan McDowell.'

* Observer *

'Like its butterfly-carpeted jacket design, Mouthful of Birds has an eerie, disconcerting beauty that will preoccupy you long after you put it down.'

* Irish Times *

'Schweblin's Man Booker-shortlisted novel Fever Dream was unsettling and uncanny and these 20 brilliant stories, translated by Megan McDowell, are just as fabulous... an eerie blend of the supernatural and the all too real.'

* Daily Mail *

'These are fictions of indisputable power, presenting modern life as a farcical horror show in which our limitations and destructive appetites have made us ugly, ridiculous and doomed.'

* Daily Telegraph *

'Schweblin is a masterful technician and builds elegant character arcs and narratives that accelerate in esoteric ways. While the content may be peculiar, the form is meticulous. The collection is chock-full of masterful reversals, last-minute turns that showcase Schweblin's ability to carry a story to a satisfying close...thrilling.'

* Chicago Review of Books *

'The best pieces in Mouthful of Birds, translated by Megan McDowell, create the same disconcerting tension as Schweblin's excellent novella Fever Dream, and tread a similar line between realism and the supernatural.'

* Sunday Times *

'Modern horror at its most bewitching and resonant.'

* Metro *

'Eerily unnerving and nightmarish.'

* Independent, 20 of the Best Short Story Collections *

'These fabulist half-light tales leave some elements tantalisingly unsaid or off-page, but are sharpened through her technique and clarity of prose.'

* The List *

'Schweblin's relentless style is engrossing.'

* Totally Dublin *

'Schweblin's imagination seemingly knows no bounds.'

* Refinery29 *

'Samanta Schweblin's Mouthful of Birds - featuring a literal mouthful of birds - will mesmerise as it disturbs... It's difficult to do justice to Schweblin's relentlessly destabilising tone; just read the book, though perhaps only in daylight.'

* Bustle *

'If you were a fan of Fever Dream, Schweblin's Man Booker International Prize-shortlisted nightmarish novella, brace yourself for this similarly surreal "unearthly" and "unsettling" collection of short stories. If you're a stranger to her work, take JM Coetzee's word for it: "The Grimm Brothers and Franz Kafka pay a visit to Argentina in Samanta Schweblin's darkly humorous tales of people who have slipped through the cracks or fallen down holes into alternative realities".'

* Huffington Post India *

'Schweblin once again deplys a heavy dose of nightmare fuel in this frightening, addictive collection... Canny, provocative and profoundly unsettling.'

* Publishers Weekly (starred review) *

'Schweblin builds dense and uncanny worlds, probing the psychology of human relationships and the ways we perceive existence and interpret culture, with dark humour and sharp teeth... An unquestionably imaginative author.'

* Kirkus *

'A writer in full control on the page. Her language is economical, yet supremely effective at creating a tense, claustrophobic atmosphere; shadows lurk behind the words left unwritten, the sentences that refuse to reveal the hidden things just around the corner.'

* New York Magazine *

'Samanta has a unique, inventive voice, and her stories have this ability to veer off into strange and unexpected territories with sublime grace. I admire and envy this gift.'

-- Daniel Alarcon, author of At Night We Walk in Circles

'Surreal and haunting, spare yet complex, Samanta Schweblin's fiction is like little else being written right now.'

* Literary Hub *

'Impressive. [A Mouthful of Birds] shows Schweblin's gloriously unsettlingly, sinister imagination at play... Schweblin [is] one of the most exciting Spanish-language writers of her generation.'

* Litro *

'Mouthful of Birds is a resounding success... Schweblin's writing has a sparseness, a restraint to it that belies its psychological complexity. She is astutely aware of the close ties between memory and desire. And her pacing is impeccable.'

* Straits Times *

'Surreal, disturbing and decidedly original.'

* Library Journal *

'The twists in the plots are like hard handbrake turns, perspectives shift with a screech... Listed in The Mancunion's most anticipated books of 2019, Mouthful of Birds comes strongly recommended.'

* The Mancunion *

'[Schweblin] can evoke more feelings in one sentence than many writers can in a whole story... Mouthful of Birds is a stunning achievement from a writer whose potential is beginning to seem limitless.'

* NPR *

'What separates Schweblin from the pack is the firm foot she has planted in frank horror, and her laconic style... Mouthful of Birds is precisely that rare mix: beauty and horror.'

* Minneapolis Star-Tribune *

'Dark, unsettling images, a sort of half-fevered, all-dazed awareness of the world outside. Schweblin is an absolute master.'

* Remezcla *

'Schweblin is back with this book of short stories, each more unnerving than the last, and all with the unique ability to leave you with that throbbing, pulsing feeling following an electric shock or a sleepless night or a solid scare or all of the above.'

* Nylon.com *

'[Schweblin's] command of her material is scintillating... A sense of unknowability lingers over these stories, producing a shiver of fright as well as a curious sense of dislocation... Her stories explore the grotesque and the horrifying, though they might be labelled beautiful, skilful creations, or even pieces of art.'

* Literary Review *

'Clever and morbidly funny.'

* Book Riot *

'Mouthful of Birds is a resounding success. The stories in the Man Booker International-longlisted collection are dark, vivid and beautiful.'

* Straits Times *

'A collection of 20 brilliant stories.'

* Women's Weekly (Australia) *

'Many of these scenarios are far too close to the truth, and this collection makes for engrossing bedtime reading.'

* Otago Daily Times *

'The Argentine Samanta Schweblin's writerly gaze, like that of Australia's Peter Carey or Janette Turner Hospital, remains trained upon her homeland.'

* Australian Book Review *

'Girls eating live birds, butterfly clouds, cinematic scenes and many other bizarre stories make up this collection. Schweblin writes the most enticing first paragraphs and I thoroughly savoured the weird and not-so-weird stories in all their darkness.'

* The Book Satchel blog, '17 favourite books of 2019' *

'Each story is a dive into a bizarre unknown.'

* SA Weekend, (Adelaide Advertiser) *

'Schweblin writes beautifully and without any willingness to reveal the magic behind it. Her stories happen fluidly, and they don't give up their ghosts or end in clear-cut denouements... I loved the darkly atmospheric creepiness that permeates Schweblin's writing with her words almost like ripples on the margins of some dangerous submerged whirlpool that as deadly as it is, will suck you in.'

-- Publishing Post

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