"Something About Birds" by Paul Tremblay
This story comes from the anthology "Black Feathers: Dark Avian Tales" edited by Ellen Datlow.
This was an interesting story. Done in a somewhat unique format. The story was done in a fashion of being an interview. Then interwoven between the interview was a story taking place in the present. At first I wasn't sure if I was going to like the structure of the story, but the story ended up flowing very well. The structure made me think of Patrick Rothfuss's series The Kingkiller Chronicles.
A man named Ben runs a horror fiction zine called "The Dark Review." One of his favorite stories was a long forgotten story, called "Something About Birds," written by a long forgotten man named William Wheatley. Through some means Ben was able to get an interview with Wheatley and was completely psyched out.
The story starts weaving through the interview back and forth with the discussion focusing on the story "Something About Birds." Ben talked excitedly about the story and started asking questions about different theories people have had about the story. Ben then delved into the different similes used throughout the story and in particular with use of the character names and the hidden meanings they might be masking.
Wheatley casually talked about the meanings of the story and some of the stuff that was going on in the world during the writing of the story. Wheatley mentioned that the story was very much a story of it's time and wouldn’t translate very well to the young people of today's generation.
Interwoven through the interview was the story of the present. It is here in the interwoven present story that some of the more interesting stuff happened.
After the interview concluded Wheatley invited Ben to a private party. He handed Ben the head of a bird and told Ben that the bird head was his ticket into the party. That in and of itself was interesting. Ben thought so too.
Ben took the bird head home with him and photographed the bird head from many different angles. He ended up posting one of the pictures on his social media account, but that turned out to be a no-no.
Eventually Ben made it to the party and was introduced to some fantastically weird stuff. I loved the introduction scene of the party. It was creepy, strange, and just plain weird. It made me say, WTF!! The party scene had a lot of simile to the interview and the story "Something About Birds."
I think the characters were well done for the story. I like how the interview was done to give the characters more depth from the dialogue they were having back and forth. It showed the eccentricities of Wheatley and the fanboy of Ben. It really gave some complexity to the characters and more importantly to the story.
The structure of interweaving the present story with the interview I think was genius. It was a really good way to tell the story. The interview giving backstory and context to what was going on during the present. After reading the story I couldn't picture it being told any other way. The author did a fantastic job of structuring the story.
Great story for this anthology. I think it hit the target of what the anthology was aiming for. And that's all you can ask from a story in an anthology.