The epigraph for Megan Mayhew Bergman's Birds of a Lesser Paradise says it all: "We will now discuss in a little more detail the Struggle for Existence." The quote comes from Charles Darwin, a figure that hovers over this collection like a storm cloud; threatening, beautiful, menacing. Close.
Bergman's stories feature women embattled, with themselves, their lovers, their parents, their politics, and with nature. They are, in many ways, hardened women, who speak with the hot blankness of a Lydia Davis character:
"You can keep the silver, he said. And the dining room set. Anything, really."
"I don't care, I said. That stuff only matters to women who need men."
The women, collectively, are in their 30s or older, newly single, soon-to-be-single, living by themselves, with pets, or with their aged parents. In all cases, they are unquestionably alone, seeking to solve the question...
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