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Birds and Birthdays
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Birds and Birthdays

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Author: Christopher Barzak
Publisher: Aqueduct Press, 2012
Series: Conversation Pieces: Book 34
Book Type: Collection
Genre: Fantasy
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Synopsis

Remedios Varo, Leonora Carrington, Dorothea Tanning: three of the most interesting painters to flourish in male-dominated Surrealism. This is Christopher Barzak's tribute to them, three stories and an essay that enter into a humane surrealism which turns away from the unconscious and toward magic. Sometimes the stories themselves seem to be paintings. Sometimes painter and writer may be characters, regarding each other through a painful otherness, talking in shared secrets.

Barzak's stories are huge with the spacious strangeness of worlds where there is always more room for a woman to escape her tormentors, or outgrow an older self. Here we find a bird-maker and a star-catcher whose shared history spills over into the birds and the stars themselves; a girl who outgrows her clothes, her house, and finally her town--and leaves to find her body a new home; a landlord, whose marriage, motherhood, separation, sexual exploration, and excursions into self-portraiture all take place within a single apartment building. In "Remembering the body: Reconstructing the Female in Surrealism," Barzak comments on the images that inspired these stories and discusses his own position as a writer among painters.

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