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The Strange Bird: A Borne Story (Kindle Single) Kindle Edition
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Praise for The Strange Bird
"With hallucinatory imagery and expressive prose, this companion novella to Borne is beautiful and bleak, painful and rewarding in equal measure." --Booklist (starred)
"A lyrical if dark-hearted sidenote to VanderMeer’s wonderfully inventive dystopian novel Borne . . . VanderMeer writes circles around most fantasists at work today." --Kirkus
Praise for Borne
“The conceptual elements in VanderMeer’s fiction are so striking that the firmness with which he cinches them to his characters’ lives is often overlooked . . . Borne is VanderMeer’s trans-species rumination on the theme of parenting . . . [Borne] insists that to live in an age of gods and sorcerers is to know that you, a mere person, might be crushed by indifferent forces at a moment’s notice, then quickly forgotten. And that the best thing about human nature might just be its unwillingness to surrender to the worst side of itself.” --Laura Miller, The New Yorker
“Borne, Jeff VanderMeer’s lyrical and harrowing new novel, may be the most beautifully written, and believable, post-apocalyptic tale in recent memory . . . [VanderMeer] outdoes himself in this visionary novel shimmering with as much inventiveness and deliriously unlikely, post-human optimism as Borne himself.” --Elizabeth Hand, Los Angeles Times
“VanderMeer’s apocalyptic vision, with its mix of absurdity, horror, and grace, can’t be mistaken for that of anyone else. Inventive, engrossing, and heartbreaking, Borne finds [VanderMeer] at a high point of creative accomplishment.” --Michael Berry, San Francisco Chronicle
About the Author
- ASIN : B073TSB1TW
- Publisher : MCD x FSG Originals (August 1, 2017)
- Publication date : August 1, 2017
- Language : English
- File size : 3123 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 128 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #268,702 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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That said, this is a beautiful and poetic tragedy that - if you enjoyed Borne - should not be missed. It is a sad story. Painfully so. But like Borne, It raises fascinating and timely questions about the nature of intelligence, technology and ultimately love, when the lines blur between all these things.
I should also add that the mere fact that Mr. VanderMeer chose to write and publish this postlude novella is really cool. In the digital age, writers can actually produce follow-up short-form work like this, and have it be (I hope!) commercially viable. I'm sure so many authors think of something after their book is published that augments the story they just told, in a way that ardent readers will love, and, importantly, can be released shortly after the original work, so it's still fresh on the reader's mind. I hope to see more writers publish works like this, if they feel moved to do so.
In fact, I have a strong suspicion that this was included in Borne but Jeff’s editor probably made him cut it (which would be a shame, if that’s the case, because I do feel as though this story would fit and thus would’ve built up the character of The Magician—which is my only critique for Borne); or it very well could’ve been retrofitted.
Regardless, I’ve never cared so much for a protagonist as in The Strange Bird. It’s truly a powerful, short read that subtly builds the world of Borne. As mentioned earlier—but I’ll make the point clear right now and elaborate further—I only wish VanderMeer would’ve found a way to splice this novella into Borne. The Strange Bird was only very briefly mentioned in Borne—and I feel like it needed to be expanded upon.
I mean, DAMN!
I had to actually stop and read this aloud last night as I was finishing the book. VanderMeer's writing conjures up the most powerful imagery; at times throughout the book, it was almost as if I was standing there with the Strange Bird. Observing this crazy world that, try as it might, cannot truly destroy us.
The Strange Bird was nothing that I expected going into this experience, but everything that I needed. While it is a novella meant to accompany Borne, I think this book could act as a stand alone novella. However, if you have intentions of reading Borne I would wait and read this last, because there are a few things that could *potentially* be spoilers.
My favorite part of this novella, is the humanity that VanderMeer brings to this bird, who as a piece of biotechnology, is so far from what we would believe to be human.
There is a sadness and despair to the bird, that one can only relate to as a human, and something about that is very sobering.
Five stars, Jeff VanderMeer.
*I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Top reviews from other countries
Exquisite heart, exquisite prose. A small masterpiece.
A small miracle of light and joy and pain and, in the end, of love and life.
VanderMeer once again transports us to his dystopian world of "Borne".
Notes and quotes:
And even then she did not know that the sky was blue or what the sun was, because she had flown out into the cool night air and all her wonder resided in the points of light that blazed through the darkness above. But then the joy of flying overtook her and she went higher and higher and higher, and she did not care who saw or what awaited her in the bliss of the free fall and the glide and the limitless expanse. Oh, for if this was life, then she had not yet been alive!
The Strange Bird had perched for safety on a hook near the ceiling and watched, knowing she might be next. The badger that stared up, wishing for wings. The goat. The monkey. She stared back at them and did not look away, because to look away was to be a coward and she was not cowardly. Because she must offer them some comfort, no matter how useless. Everything added to her and everything taken away had led to that moment and from her perch she had radiated love for every animal she could not help, with nothing left over for any human being. Not even in the parts of her that were human.
In the lab, so many of the scientists had said “forgive me” or “I am so sorry” before doing something irrevocable to the animals in their cages. Because they felt they had the right. Because the situation was extreme and the world was dying. So they had gone on doing the same things that had destroyed the world, to save it.
At true north lay the great bear Mord, [the Magician's] mortal enemy for control of the city. At true south lay the Company building, a place that the Strange Bird knew as a kind of laboratory on a scale far outstripping the one from which she had escaped. To the west, the Magician’s regard for her transformed children, her observatory headquarters, while to the east, forever changing in the intensity with which the Magician regarded them, were a scavenger named Rachel and a competitor of the Magician’s named Wick. Rachel worked with or for Wick and Wick made creatures much as the Magician did, and used them to barter for goods.