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by Megan Mayhew Bergman

Download Birds of a Lesser Paradise: Stories fb2, epub

ISBN: 1451643357
Author: Megan Mayhew Bergman
Language: English
Publisher: Scribner; 1 edition (March 6, 2012)
Pages: 240
Category: Short Stories & Anthologies
Subcategory: Literature
Rating: 4.6
Votes: 919
Size Fb2: 1541 kb
Size ePub: 1184 kb
Size Djvu: 1719 kb
Other formats: docx mbr rtf lrf


Megan Mayhew Bergman's short story collection, Birds of a Lesser Paradise, is a definite find.

Megan Mayhew Bergman's short story collection, Birds of a Lesser Paradise, is a definite find. Sometimes moving, sometimes funny, sometimes insightful, these stories depict women's interactions with nature in its many forms-biological, zoological, and psychological-and how sometimes you just don't understand its influence. And if Megan Mayhew Bergman is an example of what Bennington produces, then I must look for more of their published writers. Yesterday's Whales" brought me to tears, for example.

I am my own housewife, my own breadwinner.

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever. For information address Scribner Subsidiary Rights Department, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020. I am my own housewife, my own breadwinner.

Megan Mayhew Bergman's short story collection, Birds of a Lesser Paradise, is a definite find

Megan Mayhew Bergman's short story collection, Birds of a Lesser Paradise, is a definite find.

Megan Mayhew Bergman (born December 23, 1979) is an American writer, author of the books Almost Famous Women and Birds of a Lesser Paradise. In 2015, she won the Garrett Award for Fiction. She graduated from Duke University with a masters and Bennington College with an MFA. She also is the author of a previous collection of stories, Birds of a Lesser Paradise. In 2016, she was awarded a fellowship at the American Library in Paris.

Megan Mayhew Bergman’s first story collection, Birds of a Lesser Paradise, begins with a woman driving hundreds of miles to see a parrot. She can’t stand the bird, which sings Patsy Cline tunes and tells off imaginary telemarketers, but it has one trick worth listening to: It sounds just like her dead mother. The two women didn’t get along, but now that the mother is gone, the daughter longs to hear her familiar voice, even coming from a beady-eyed mimic.

Megan Mayhew Bergman’s twelve stories capture the surprising moments when the pull of our biology becomes . As intelligent as they are moving, the stories in Birds of a Lesser Paradise are alive with emotion, wit, and insight into the impressive power that nature has over all of us.

Megan Mayhew Bergman’s twelve stories capture the surprising moments when the pull of our biology becomes evident, when love or fear collide with good sense, or when our attachment to an animal or wild place can’t be denied. In Housewifely Arts, a single mother and her son drive hours to track down an African Gray Parrot that can mimic her deceased mother’s voice.

Megan Mayhew Bergman’s Birds of a Lesser Paradise captures the surprising moments when the pull of our biology becomes evident, when love collides with good . More books from this author: Megan Mayhew Bergman.

Megan Mayhew Bergman’s Birds of a Lesser Paradise captures the surprising moments when the pull of our biology becomes evident, when love collides with good sense, and when our attachments to an animal or wild place can’t be denied. In Housewifely Arts, a single mother and her son drive hours to track down an African Gray Parrot that can mimic her dead mother’s voice. Thank you for signing up, fellow book lover! Tell us what you like and we'll recommend books you'll love.

The epigraph for Megan Mayhew Bergman's Birds of a Lesser Paradise says it all: "We will now discuss in a little more detail the Struggle for Existence. The quote comes from Charles Darwin, a figure that hovers over this collection like a storm cloud; threatening, beautiful, menacing. Bergman's stories feature women embattled, with themselves, their lovers, their parents, their politics, and with nature. They are, in many ways, hardened women, who speak with the hot blankness of a Lydia Davis character: "You can keep the silver, he said.

This is a beefy story. Again, Ms Bergman shows a high skill level on the details. THREE GUYS ONE BOOK originated as a way for three friends in the book business - Jason Chambers, Jason Rice and Dennis Haritou - to talk about books together. She never misses a moment to show and tell what it’s like to be a daughter.

From a prizewinning young writer whose stories have been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories andNew Stories from the South comes a heartwarming andhugely appealingdebut collectionthat explores the wayour choices and relationships are shaped by the menace and beauty of the natural world.Megan Mayhew Bergman’s twelve storiescapture the surprising moments when the pull of our biology becomes evident, when love or fearcollidewithgood sense,orwhen ourattachmentto an animal or wild place can’t be denied. In “Housewifely Arts,” a single mother and her son drive hours to track down an African Gray Parrotthatcan mimicher deceased mother’s voice. A population control activistfacesthe ultimate conflict between her loyalty to the environment and her maternal desire in“Yesterday’s Whales.”And in the title story, a lonely naturalistallows an attractive strangerto leadher and her aging fatheron a hunt for an elusive woodpecker.As intelligent as they aremoving, the stories inBirds of a Lesser Paradisearealive with emotion,wit,and insight into the impressive power that nature has over all of us.

Comments:

Shak
I'd rate this 4.5 stars if I could...darn you, whole numbers!

Megan Mayhew Bergman's short story collection, Birds of a Lesser Paradise, is a definite find. Sometimes moving, sometimes funny, sometimes insightful, these stories depict women's interactions with nature in its many forms--biological, zoological, and psychological--and how sometimes you just don't understand its influence.

There are a number of terrific stories in this collection, but among my favorites were "Housewifely Arts," which told of a woman and her son driving to a zoo nine hours away from her home so she can find a parrot that used to belong to her mother and imitated her voice perfectly; "Yesterday's Whales," the story of an advocate for population control who finds herself unexpectedly pregnant; "The Two-Thousand-Dollar Sock," which followed a woman's struggles with motherhood, honey-seeking bears, and a sick dog; and the title story, about a naturalist and her father who are led into the swamp by a mysterious stranger, searching for an elusive woodpecker.

Some of the stories resonated more for me than others, and only one or two didn't quite hit the mark. I was really taken by Bergman's voice and her ability to occupy and embody so many different narrators and imbue them with great depth. Some of the characters are similar, and at first glance I wondered if some of the stories were interconnected, but the more the stories unwound, I realized their differences. While some of the situations her characters find themselves in may be hard to identify with, nothing was ever unrealistic, and that added to the stories' appeal.

As I've commented many times before, when short stories are done right, they captivate you and leave you wanting to know more about the characters when the stories are finished. With this collection, I felt that way nearly all the time, and I would have loved to know what happened to some of these women after the last sentence of their stories.

This is a tremendously enjoyable, refreshingly candid, and well-written collection I'd definitely recommend to short story fans. And Bergman is an author to watch!
Rrd
I read somewhere not long ago that per capita Bennington College produces more published writers from its MFA program than any other. And if Megan Mayhew Bergman is an example of what Bennington produces, then I must look for more of their published writers. "Yesterday's Whales" brought me to tears, for example. It is such a remarkable, poignant story, there in the middle of the book, with so many other artistic stories surrounding it, most of which are about mother-daughter relationships, one of which is described this way: "intimacy [that] was rusty, but only for a moment." Ironically I read "Another Story She Won't Believe" on December 21st, the day when the Mayan calendar says we were all doomed. Ironic because the narrator's daughter believes the world will soon end as the boyfriend in "Yesterday's Whales" sees the only solution to the continuation of our planet is to rid it of all humans. Probably that is the only solution if one thinks seriously a bout just how much damage humans have done to Mother Earth, a theme the author picks up on several times but with a retrospective view in "The Artificial Heart" set in 2050 when the earth really is poisoned and beyond repair. More about that story later.
Throughout these stories, no matter what female voice narrates, there's a beautiful acceptance of others, of the homeless and mentally ill--"this morning Our Neil Diamond [not "the" Neil Diamond] pulled his penis out and danced around the cantaloupe patch screaming, 'Impotent melons! Impotent melons!'" This from a narrator who cannot conceive, at least not yet, but accepts life without bitterness. These are, if you will, flawed but truly lovely characters.
If you love animals, you'll enjoy these stories. As the title suggests, animals are metaphors throughout, maybe to be expected from an author who is married to a vet.
Many of these are stories that seem to say, as least to me, "Please write me into a novel, please expand me because I'm too good not to." I want to know if the 39-year-old woman and Max do have a baby. And if not, what happens as they age. I want to know if the non-religious woman who's left her husband--he was a cheater--and has a photo of the Virgin Mary clipped to the headboard of her bed will continue to talk with the photo about giving up men. That is funny, talking to the Virgin Mary about giving up men!
"Night Hunting" is told in the mature voice, a retrospective of a teenage girl whose mother is dying. They have returned to her mother's parents' home in Pawlet, Vermont, where a coyote has plagued the town. Since I lived nearly five decades in Vermont, I enjoyed the authenticity of the people and setting although I wonder what the good folks of Pawlet think about this sentence: "Pawlet was the kind of place where young girls fell in with older men and got pregnant; slim pickings led to cross-generational romance."
We all know of someone who loves and adopts all types of animals, in this case even castrated rams with this type of response from the neighbors: "Recipes began appearing in my mailbox, compliments of neighbors. Braised lamb shanks with rice. Curried lamb stew. Lamb Kebabs. Tandoori-spiced leg of lamb." That story is titled "Every Vein a Tooth."
I lived for several years in Key West (yes, from Vermont to Key West and now South Beach.) So "The Artificial Heart," a satire, is just wonderful. The narrator's father is 91 and has dementia. It is 2050, so he has devices such as an artificial heart that keeps him alive. Key West is "a sunny kind of purgatory," later described as "a town of burned-out drunks." That is the truth! Dad has fallen in love. That is if he can remember who this 80-year-old woman is. Or her name. Dad has been predicting all his life the demise of the planet. And it has happened with the coral reefs now dead, the sea filled with ugliness. And then this line which says it all: "Dad said Key Westers will stick a palm tree and a bar in any old dump and call it a resort."
Two of my favorite authors are Elizabeth Strout ("Olive Kitteridge") and Rachel Joyce ("The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry")--and I think Megan Mayhew Bergman has been elevated up with them.
Zovaithug
This is a collection of short stories, all of which involve a woman, working alone or with animals, trying to understand what makes families tick.
The style of writing is very easy to read, intelligent and kind. The author's love for animals is obvious, also her concern for nature and the earth as a whole.
I particularly liked the first story 'Housewifely Arts'. It's the story of a grieving single mother who attempts to track down the pet parrot who could imitate her dead morher's voice.
' I tried to remember the way her clothes smelled, the freckles on her clavicle, her shoe size, the sound of her voice. When I couldn't find those things in my memory I decided to take Ike on a field trip.' - p.2
The stories are touching, heartbreaking even, but never sentimental. I enjoyed these 12 stories so much I immediately bought Bergman's next story, 'Phoenix'.
Gela
I just finished reading Housewifely Arts in another collection of short stories and immediately went on Amazon to buy her book. I was deeply touched by this poignant, sad, beautifully written story that the tears just flowed from my eyes, a rare thing at my age of 72. I know well the desire to hear the voices of all the loved ones I have lost during my life and understand the truth that you can never stop your heart for longing for them. Ms Bergman has expressed this so eloquently in her story. I like her clean style of writing and am looking forward to savoring the rest of the stories and hope that she has more in the works. I am going to wait a while though because I want to turn this story over in my mind and and enjoy the aftertaste of her lovely writing.

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