Birds of a Lesser Paradise by Megan Mayhew Bergman
Stories

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At times while reading “Birds of a Lesser Paradise,” I wished it would send us deeper into the woods, and more fiercely stalk the mysteries that elude us, disturb us, tear us apart.
-NY Times

Synopsis

An “astonishing debut collection, by a writer reminiscent of such greats as Alice Munro, Elizabeth Strout, and even Chekhov” (Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants), focusing on women navigating relationships with humans, animals, and the natural world.

Exploring the way our choices and relationships are shaped by the menace and beauty of the natural world, Megan Mayhew Bergman’s powerful and heartwarming collection captures the surprising moments when the pull of our biology becomes evident, when love or fear collides 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. A population-control activist faces the conflict between her loyalty to the environment and her maternal desire in “Yesterday’s Whales.” And in the title story, a lonely naturalist allows an attractive stranger to lead her and her aging father on a hunt for an elusive woodpecker.

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. This extraordinary collection introduces a young writer of remarkable talent.
 

About Megan Mayhew Bergman

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Megan Mayhew Bergman grew up in Rocky Mount, North Carolina and attended Wake Forest University. She has graduate degrees from Duke University and Bennington College. Her stories have appeared in the 2010 New Stories from the South anthology, Ploughshares, Oxford American, One Story, Narrative, PEN American, The Kenyon Review, Shenandoah, Gulf Coast, Greensboro Review, and elsewhere. She lives on a small farm in Vermont with her veterinarian husband, two daughters, four dogs, four cats, a horse, goats, and chickens.
 
Published March 6, 2012 by Scribner. 242 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Birds of a Lesser Paradise
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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Polly Rosenwaike on Mar 30 2012

At times while reading “Birds of a Lesser Paradise,” I wished it would send us deeper into the woods, and more fiercely stalk the mysteries that elude us, disturb us, tear us apart.

Read Full Review of Birds of a Lesser Paradise: S... | See more reviews from NY Times

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