I would like to say thank you to Steven and Pushkin Press for sending me a physical copy of Nineteen Claws and a Black Bird: Stories by Agustina Bazterrica for free in exchange for an honest review and for inviting me on the blog tour.
Title: Nineteen Claws and a Black Bird
Author: Agustina Bazterrica
Translator: Sarah Moses
Publication Date: 4th May 2023
Genre: Short Stories, Horror fiction, Psychological Fiction
Synopsis: In these tense, macabre stories, bodies fall from the sky, perfect nails conceal grisly secrets and violence pulses behind gleaming facades. From hellish visions to obsessive relationships, acclaimed author Agustina Bazterrica takes us to the dark heart of human desires and fears. Shocking, brutal, yet glinting with sharp humour, Nineteen Claws and a Black Bird is a breath-taking dive into human monstrousness from a master of contemporary horror.
Before I bring up the opening story dear Readers, I have a confession you know that one friend who laughs in the worst situations… yeah that’s me. The first story “A light, Swift and Monstrous Sound” is a strong opener and Agustina really didn’t need to go that hard she really starts the book with a bang (Oh that’s a grim choice of wording). Without too much of a spoiler dear Reader it was way too easy to picture myself in this situation and I did the nervous laugh at how I probably would have had the same reaction as our short stories main character.
One thing I love about a book full of short stories is it’s like an anthology. You can always revisit the stories you love but you can also skip to the next story if you aren’t enjoying it as much to revisit it another time. Saying that there was only one story out of the twenty that I skipped and will revisit it another day. I don’t know why dear Reader, but I just wasn’t feeling it and that’s okay but that’s also a me problem not the book.
This is the first book I have read by Agustina, and I am blow away at how good she is at being able to set up a story with its own logic and law in a little as a page. Agustina’s writing draws you into each stories macabre worlds that are still relatable. However, when you think you about work everything out these short stories have a magical way of taking a sharp left turn and taking you down a completely different path that is still logical and compliments the story. Dear Reader, is a beautiful how many times Agustina kept destroying my expectations with just a sentence or two, honestly, I was being a little cocky like I have it all worked out and then bam surprise ending that came out the blue but still perfectly fitted the short story.
This book is must read for anyone who loves slightly morbid short stories
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