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MBI 2019 Longlist: Mouthful of Birds by Samanta Schweblin


Number 8 I wanted her book Fever Dream to win MBI2018 so what did Tracy and I make of this offering…

Synopsis from Goodreads: A powerful, eerily unsettling story collection from a major international literary star.

Unearthly and unexpected, the stories in Mouthful of Birds burrow their way into your psyche and don’t let go. Samanta Schweblin haunts and mesmerizes in this extraordinary, masterful collection.

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.

Tracy’s Thoughts: I adored Fever Dream, so I was really excited to read this one, and it didn’t disappoint. The stories were fun, weird and weirdly fun. Each of these stories was about the narrator, and they were well written,atmospheric, and (did I mention?) a little weird. I wish some of the stories would be flushed out to novel length. And there was one story with some animal cruelty that I really didn’t care for. Otherwise, so far this is my favorite.

Writing quality: 5/5
Originality: 5/5
Character development: 4/4
Plot development: 3/4
Overall enjoyment: 2/2
Total: 19/20

Book Worm’s Thoughts: Fever Dream was my pick for MBI2018 and I was gutted that it didn’t win so I had high hopes for this story collection, sadly for me it suffered from “short story syndrome” I just don’t enjoy short stories and I have come to the realisation that nothing is going to change that.

There were a couple of stories in this collection that had the same kind of eerie feel as Fever Dream but for the most part for me they were just confusing with no resolution. That said there is no denying that Schweblin is an original writer.

In terms of ratings this suffers again as the short story format doesn’t really allow for character or plot development.

Writing quality: 3/5
Originality: 4/5
Character development: 1/4
Plot development: 1/4
Overall enjoyment: 1/2
Total: 10/20

Combined score 14.5/20

Have you read this one? What did you think?


Love in the New Millennium 18/20
Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead 16.5/20
The Faculty of Dreams 14.5/20
Mouthful of Birds 14.5/20
Celestial Bodies 14/20
Four Soldiers 14/20
The Death of Murat Idrissi 10.5/20
At Dusk 9.5/20



One Comment Post a comment
  1. Diana @ Thoughts on Papyrus #

    It sounds like something special. I will surely try to read this one. I agree with you on “At Dusk”. I attempted that book three times, but I just cannot get into it. It is now in my pile of books that are meant to be read at some later indeterminate date.


    April 1, 2019

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