Birdman and the Dancer

De danseres en de vogelman
Published by Contact
Amsterdam, 1993

Fuglemand og Danserinden
Published by Gyldendal
Copenhagen, 1993

Der Vogelmann und die Tanzerin
Published by Rowohlt
Hamburg, 1996

Inspired by Greek myth and by a series of monotypes by the French artist Francoise Gilot, Birdman and the Dancer was written while many Americans were being mesmerized by the television coverage of Operation Desert Storm in 1991. The somewhat surreal story embodies Alther’s metaphoric response to the Gulf War — and to violence in general.

It was published in 1993 in Denmark, in 1994 in Holland, and in 1996 in Germany, illustrated by some of Gilot’s monotypes. These editions also included introductions by Alther and Gilot concerning the genesis of the project. American publishers were less welcoming, and the story didn’t appear in English until 2012 when it was published without the illustrations and introductions in Alther’s short story collection Stormy Weather and Other Stories.

  • Lisa Alther's Introduction to Birdman and the Dancer
  • Francoise Gilot's Preface: Wanderings and Mutations

    click here


from Danish reviews of "Birdman and the Dancer":

" epic tale... As a reader you dance along and thus end up where everything starts - in the eternal war between the sexes."- Dansen pa et Billede

"...a modern parable about the power of anxiety and the possibility of dance. A sadly topical and very beautiful book." - Angsten og dansen

"...a beautiful and thought-provoking book....In its short form and unusual composition it is capable of exciting dormant thoughts about love, existence, and the meaning of life."- Billeddans

from Dutch reviews:
"...a beautiful, fairy-like story, full of symbolism...a miraculous narration that is experienced as a colorful dream...."- Cosmopolitan

"...a parable for contemporary adults about longing and loneliness, love and violence, and the fear for men of the feminine part of their personality. The
story begins realistically and transforms slowly, little by little, into a fantasy world." - Het Parool

- Kinflicks
- Original Sins
- Other Women
- Bedrock
- Birdman & the Dancer
- Five Minutes in Heaven - Kinfolks
- Washed In The Blood
- Blood Feud
- Stormy Weather
- About Women
- Swan Song

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