Birds of a Lesser Paradise: Stories

BoaLPbyMMBIt’s been a little while since I read a short story collection so I thought I’d pick up this one. All of the stories in Birds of a Lesser Paradise explore the different relationships between humans and animals. More specifically, it delves into the issues between women, men, and animals. Every story is narrated in first person by a woman. All of the women are going through hard times and they have or seek animals that help them cope. There is usually a man that also complicates the woman’s life- be it a son, father, or lover. Nature and the men pull the women in different ways.

Most of the stories in this collection are quiet and some are rather sad. They deal with common but tough topics like aging, drug abuse, death, loss, and desire. All of the characters (both human and animal) are colorful and realistic. However, since every story is narrated by a woman in some sort of crisis… the stories blur together. I could tell you more about the supporting characters than I could about the different women who told their tales. I did read many of the stories back to back and read the whole collection over a few days so maybe that attributed to this feeling, but the voices of the different women did not feel unique enough for me to remember them all individually.

Other than that I don’t have too much else to say. I really enjoyed this collection and the dynamic between animals/nature and women was interesting. Often it seems like men and nature are more closely tied together than women and nature. I would recommend this is if it sounds your kind of book.

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