Birds and Birthdays

Christopher Barzak
fantasy, short stories
Birds and Birthdays

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.

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Release date: 2012
Genres: fantasy, short stories
Updated 2017-01-20