Review: Mouthful of Birds by Samanta Schweblin



A powerful, eerily unsettling story collection from a major international literary star.

Unearthly and unexpected, the stories in Mouthful of Birds burrow their way into your psyche and don’t let go. Samanta Schweblin haunts and mesmerizes in this extraordinary, masterful collection.

Schweblin’s stories have the feel of a sleepless night, where every shadow and bump in the dark take on huge implications, leaving your pulse racing, and the line between the real and the strange blur.


I was really looking forward to this short story collection, thinking I’d be reading a great selection of unsettling, disturbing, or even scary stories. However, it was mostly not as expected.

The collection starts off with an interesting yet unfinished feeling short called ‘Headlights’. Not a great start, but I was still encouraged and hopeful for the stories to come. Unfortunately, many of the following shorts, such as ‘My Brother Walter’ or ‘The Size of Things’ left me feeling depressed and melancholy. Others, like ‘The Merman’  or ‘Irman’, were simply dull. There were some stories that were simply unpleasingly strange, like ‘Olingiris’.

A favourite among reviewers, myself included, was ‘Toward Happy Civilisation’. It tells the story of a man trapped inside a train station, forced into a repetitive and monotonous life by his captors. Once there is an opportunity to escape, the freedom he’s presented with is not all that is seems. This story definitely resembled an uncomfortable dream you’d be happy to wake up from

A couple of other good unsettling stories based themselves around the theme of digging. ‘The Digger’ and ‘Underground’ were definitely my second favourites  I love stories that leave me with a hollow, slightly uncertain feeling.

I was hoping for something a little more inspiring from this collection, but alas. I often like a story that doesn’t give the reader all the answers, but I felt some of these stories were finished lazily. At least I have this gorgeous cover on my shelves now!

Headlights ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Preserves ⭐️⭐️
Butterflies ⭐️⭐️
Mouthful of Birds ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Santa Claus Sleeps in Our House ⭐️⭐️
The Digger ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Irman ⭐️
The Test⭐️⭐️
Toward Happy Civilisation ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️✨
Olingiris ⭐️⭐️
My Brother Walter ⭐️⭐️
The Merman ⭐️
Rage of Pestilence ⭐️⭐️
Heads Against Concrete ⭐️⭐️
The Size of Things ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Underground ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Slowing Down ⭐️
On the Steppe ⭐️⭐️⭐️
A Great Effort ⭐️⭐️
The Heavy Suitcase of Benavides ⭐️⭐️

*Buy it here: Amazon UK | Book Depository

7 Replies to “Review: Mouthful of Birds by Samanta Schweblin”

  1. That is such a gorgeous cover! I bet it’s really lovely up close.

    I still love reading short stories but collections of them are often so mixed for me, I love one or two, most are okay, and a couple kind of awful…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I came incredibly close to buying this the other day, but then I checked the reviews on Goodreads and decided not to 😅 Turns out that was the right decision, this doesn’t seem like my kind of book at all 😋
    Hope you enjoy your next read more than this one 👍🏼

    Liked by 1 person

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