From Governor General’s Literary Awards finalist Maria Mutch comes a startlingly inventive debut collection that recalls the works of Margaret Atwood, Kelly Link, Karen Russell, and Heather O’Neill.
Wolves talk, notes magically appear on a woman’s skin, Red Riding Hood concocts a clever escape, a peregrine turns into a woman with strange compulsions, and Glenn Gould reemerges into the world as a bird trapped by curious onlookers.
Speaking in the irresistible language of fable, and eroticism, these deliciously dark and evocative stories masterfully navigate the space where perception and reality blur.
Punctuated with photographs by the author and exquisite drawings from an 1884 book entitled Practical Taxidermy, When We Were Birds is an unforgettably intoxicating assemblage of stories from a gifted writer that will surprise and delight any reader—leaving them craving more.
"Superb writing and linguistic flair."
"Wise . . . a compassionate picture."
"An exhibition of literary eloquence, a tale set in darkness, but filled with light, and a moving debut memoir about maternal love—its beauty and strength, its complications and contradictions, and most importantly, its boundlessness."
"An impressive debut for author Maria Mutch, whose literary memoir maintains that magical balance between lyricism and realism. . . . Very universal and lovely, and utterly worth the read."
“Mutch’s prose is electric.”
“Know the Night appears like an aurora borealis in the book firmament.”
"A beautiful, singular book, one that someone who’s planning, say, a prolonged stay in a godforsaken place might consider bringing along so they don’t feel quite so alone."
“One of the most idiosyncratic memoirs I’ve ever read. . . . Superb writing and linguistic flair.”
"Intriguing, intelligent, and unsettling in all the best ways, this dazzling debut collection is unlike anything you’ve read before. I wish I’d written this book!"
Praise for When We Were Birds
“Promises to bring to mind fable, romance, eroticism and a touch of magical realism—yes please!”
"[A] poetic, elegant, and intense account.”
"[A] hopeful story . . . absorbing and creatively rendered.”
Praise for Know the Night
“You’ll be rewarded with the sense that the self is a miraculous catastrophe. . . . [Know the Night is] riveting, breathtaking.”
“There are moments of heartrending grief, such as when Gabriel says his last words . . . but it's Mutch herself, revealing her struggle to survive as a person, that leaves you astonished.”