Book Review: "Birds Of A Lesser Paradise"
In the first story, Housewifely Arts, a single mother and her son go on a road trip to find her deceased mother’s parrot just to hear her voice again. Through the process the woman realizes the daughter she was to her parents and the mother she wants to be to her son.
Each story deals in some aspect with relationships and complexities of motherhood. In the story, Yesterday’s Whales, a young woman struggles with her unexpected pregnancy and whether she should keep her baby or follow her boyfriends’ environmentalist ideals. The journey to make the decision is incredibly moving making the reader wish the story were longer than its 24 pages.
In the title story Birds of a Lesser Paradise, a woman is living with her father in the swamps of North Carolina where she is overcome with loneliness and a desire to keep her father happy but when a man comes into her life her feelings begin to change.
The stories all give the reader a strong connection to the characters as though every one is an account of non-fiction. Bergman does a fantastic job of dropping the reader into the story with no context but giving just enough detail to keep you hooked and invested in the story. Her characters are lifelike women facing different situations of love, loneliness, fear and hope.
Every story also has a connection to animals or the environment in a way that feels natural and weaves each story together with that common thread. Any one of the stories could be novel in of themselves. Reading each short and concise story gives the reader the feeling of catching a small glimpse of someone’s life like overhearing a brief conversation, leaving a cliffhanger as to how the story will end.
"Birds of a Lesser Paradise" is a quick and meaningful read with compelling and relatable tales of human nature and emotion. This book will definitely change any misconceptions you may have about short stories and have you reading from cover to cover.
Reach Reporter Kiran Kazalbash here.