Thursday, March 04, 2010

Birds of Prey: Seven Sardonic Stories

An excerpt from Julian Barnes's novel Flaubert's Parrot makes an appearance in Birds of Prey: Seven Sardonic Stories, published by Rare Books and Berry in April 2010. Other writers in the collection include Salman Rushdie, Edgar Allan Poe, and Daphne du Maurier.

From the Publisher:

Birds of Prey is an extraordinary anthology that has brought together authors from the past and the present; from the West and from the East. They have produced a collection of exotic, and sometimes terrifying, stories about birds. There is a deftness to their talent and a mystical quality to everything they have created.

It’s a dangerous mistake – and one sometimes made by even the most experienced of readers – to assume that the short story is somehow a novel in miniature. It’s not. It behaves differently, and well-executed examples of this difficult genre pack a punch way above their weight. Another mistake more commonly made is to assume that birds are simply normal animals with wings. That’s not true either. They’re much more extraordinary than that.

It follows then that a book of short stories about birds should be something special indeed, and Birds of Prey – Seven Sardonic Stories is just that. A mixture of old favourites – how could you produce a book like this without including Daphne du Maurier’s The Birds? – and some pleasant surprises, it’s the kind of book that taps into our primal fear, mystic respect and unbridled awe of these descendants of the dinosaurs. As well as du Maurier’s classic there are tales from Salman Rushdie, Edgar Allan Poe, Julian Barnes, the explorer Richard Francis Burton and Christopher Ondaatje. This slender and gripping volume is introduced with an excellent essay by Margaret Drabble.

Birds of Prey: Seven Sardonic Stories
Published by Rare Books and Berry
128 printed pages
Price £9-95
ISBN 978-0-9557119-9-2

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