#BlogTour | #BookReview: Nineteen Claws and a Black Bird by Agustina Bazterrica (translated by Sarah Moses) @PushkinPress #NineteenClawsandaBlackBird #19ClawsandaBlackBird #BookTwitter #damppebbles

Fiercely powerful short fiction about the darkest aspects of human nature, from the acclaimed author of Tender is the Flesh

In these tense, macabre stories, bodies fall from the sky, perfect nails conceal grisly secrets and violence pulses behind gleaming façades. 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 breathtaking dive into human monstrousness from a master of contemporary horror.”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to join the Nineteen Claws and a Black Bird blog tour. Nineteen Claws and a Black Bird by Agustina Bazterrica (translated by Sarah Moses) was published by Pushkin Press last week (on Thursday 4th May 2023) and is available in paperback and digital formats. I chose to read a free ARC of Nineteen Claws and a Black Bird but that has in no way influenced my review. My grateful thanks to Steven at Pushkin Press for sending me a finished copy.

One of the most memorable, standout novels I have read in recent years is Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica (also translated by Sarah Moses). Tender is the Flesh has become a social media sensation. It’s beautifully written, impossible to tear yourself away from, jaw-droppingly shocking and totally unforgettable with a strong message. Which is why I was excited to see what Bazterrica would publish next!

Nineteen Claws and a Black Bird is a collection of short fiction featuring the macabre, the shocking and the bizarre. As I have quickly come to expect from this author, all of the stories are beautifully penned and all felt fully formed. I’ve always felt short fiction must be, in some ways, harder to write than a full length novel (but I am no expert on either, I am not a writer just a dedicated reader!). You only have a few words to get your point, and the story, across. For the reader to understand something of your character or characters. Nineteen Claws and a Black Bird gave me the sense that I was very much in safe hands. The author knows how to tell a story (no matter how bizarre or unsettling!), whether that’s in short form or a longer novel and I savoured being immersed in Bazterrica’s strange and macabre world once again.

There are twenty works of short fiction in the book and each and every one stands tall. The book opens with A Light, Swift and Monstrous Sound which sets high expectations for the rest of the book. A bitter and hate-filled neighbour commits suicide by throwing himself on his neighbour’s patio, with the intent of killing the neighbour as well. From here we meet a young girl with a secret in Roberto. I found this story to be so shocking I had to put the book down for a few minutes to compose myself! But it’s one I won’t forget. Other favourites include Candy PinkEarthTeicher vs. NietzscheElena-Marie Sandoz and Mary Carminum.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. Nineteen Claws and a Black Bird shows what a multi-talented writer Bazterrica is. Brave and unflinching, Agustina Bazterrica is not scared to shock or stun her audience. And I love that! More please. I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of stories, delving into the dark and the horrifying, and would recommend to all fans of modern horror. The stories vary in length from being very short to several pages long. As a result it’s easy to read this book quickly and if you have the time, it’s easily a one sitting read. But I found myself reading at a much slower pace than usual so I could savour how well-crafted each tale was and feel the full effect. I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of short fiction and I look forward to reading more from this author in the future. Recommended.

I chose to read and review a free ARC of Nineteen Claws and a Black Bird. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Nineteen Claws and a Black Bird by Agustina Bazterrica (translated by Sarah Moses) was published in the UK by Pushkin Press on 4th May 2023 and is available in paperback and digital formats (please note, the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukWaterstonesFoylesbookshop.orgGoodreadsdamppebbles bookshop.org shopdamppebbles amazon.co.uk shopdamppebbles amazon.com shop |

Agustina Bazterrica is an Argentine novelist and short-story writer. She is a central figure in the Buenos Aires literary scene, co-curating the event series ‘Siga al Conejo Blanco’ and coordinating reading workshops. She has received several awards for her writing, most notably the prestigious Premio Clarín Novela for her second novel, Tender is the Flesh, which has sold in eight languages and is forthcoming from Pushkin Press in 2020.

Sarah Moses’s writing and translations have appeared in print and online, in Asymptote, Brick, EventHarper’s Magazine and elsewhere. Her co-translation of Ariana Harwicz’s novel Die, My Love was longlisted for the International Booker Prize and shortlisted for the Republic of Consciousness Prize, the Premio Valle Inclán, and the Best Translated Book Award, and Tender Is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica was published in her translation in the UK and the US/Canada. Forthcoming publications including Nineteen Claws and a Black Bird by Agustina Bazterrica and her own collection of short fiction, Strange Water, from 1366 Books, an imprint of Guernica Editions.

Sarah edited the anthology Hija: Literary Daughters in Argentina for Palabras Errantes and was Asymptote‘s Editor-at-Large for Argentina.

She holds an Honours B.Sc. in Biology from McMaster University and studied science writing at the University of Toronto and literary translation at the University of Buenos Aires. She is a member of the Literary Translators’ Association of Canada and lives in Buenos Aires and Toronto, where she’s from.

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