Lauren Groff’s “Delicate Edible Birds”

In Lauren Groff’s “Delicate Edible Birds,” the primary tension in the environment is that the Germans are invading France. This tension contributes or perhaps facilitates the conflict between the characters, who are journalists involved in various romantic conflicts. Though the tensions are clear, they are not concise and as a result appear to me to be a little convoluted and confusing. While it was very interesting when Bern was exposed and all men turned on her, I wish that the tension that built up to this point was a little more precise and to the point. The character of Bern is well-developed and contributes greatly to the plot in general. The title is a reference to her affair with a mayor at age 16 and her independence, as a woman and a character, is well-established. The conflicts between characters comes to a climax and results in betrayal, which is how the tension is resolved. Bern sacrifices herself for the good of the group and this sacrifice leaves her feeling more conflicted. In that respect I think that the story succeeds at what it’s attempting to achieve. Nevertheless, all of the tensions found within the story seem to somehow undermine one another, making me wonder if it would be better off as a novella instead.

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