Birds and BirthdaysChristopher Barzak
fantasy, short stories
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 that 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 tormenters, 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.
Christopher Barzak (born 1975) is an American author. He has published many short stories, beginning with "A Mad Tea Party" in Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet in 1999. In 2007 he published his debut novel, One for Sorrow, which has won the 2008 Crawford Award, and was a nominee for the 2008 Great Lakes Book Award as well as the Logo Channel's NewNowNext Award. His second novel, The Love We Share Without Knowing, was placed on the 2008 James Tiptree Jr. Award Honor List and was a 2009 Nebula Award nominee for Best Novel. He has also worked as a teacher outside of Tokyo. Barzak holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Currently, he teaches fiction writing at Youngstown State University, ... (more)
Photo: Photograph of author Christopher Barzak, taken in Kinsman, Ohio. Photo author: Christopher Barzak. Photo source: Wikimedia Commons.