"Bird Eat Bird" by Katrina Best
A mentally ill woman who spends a day off of her medication. A young grocery store cashier who happens to be a vegetarian and struggles to scan a package of meat. A 30 year old woman on a second date who eagerly anticipates a third date with the man, something that rarely happens to her. A worn out mother on vacation with her family who is swept out in the ocean and faces her life head on. A young retail worker who is deep in debt and alone at the cash register. And a pelican in a crowded London park who has decided to eat a pigeon.
These are all subjects of the tales in Katrina Best's debut book of short stories, Bird Eat Bird. Quirky and humorous, Best's book brings together an eclectic group of characters in a collection of social commentaries. Bird Eat Bird captures daily life from a unique angle. The stories are dark but funny and full of off-beat but realistic characters.
I've never been much of a fan of short stories. I'm not sure why but it's something I have never felt inclined to pick up. But I grabbed this one after seeing that it had made the 2011 Commonwealth Prize shortlist for Canada and Caribbean Best First Book. Not only did it make the shortlist but it was recently announced that as the the regional winner.
I really enjoyed these stories. They were easy to read and there were quite a few points that had me laughing out loud. This book has definitely inspired me to try out more collections of short stories. Katrina Best did an excellent job of capturing the daily intricacies of life.