Alfred MacAdam

Critics Hail Jodorowsky's "Masterpiece," Where the Bird Sings Best

Updated September 10, 2015

Critics and artists alike are singing the praises of legendary filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky's latest masterpiece, Where the Bird Sings Best. The first novel in English translation by the polymathic master of cinema, theater, comics, shamanism, and the Tarot, Where the Bird Sings Best is emerging as a modern classic of Latin-American literature. Critics call it "frightening, outrageous, hilarious, touching," "surreal, mystical, and grotesque," "gloriously readable," "deliciously far-fetched," "wildly inventive," and "electrifying." Read on for more great quotes, reviews, and highlights below.

Where the Bird Sings Best

by Alejandro Jodorowsky

Translated from the Spanish by Alfred MacAdam

“No one alive today, anywhere, has been able to demonstrate the sheer possibilities of artistic invention—and in so many disciplines—as powerfully as Alejandro Jodorowsky.… His new semi-autobiographical novel Where the Bird Sings Best is his magnum opus, a fantastical something that in many ways mirrors the author himself: It is brilliant, mad, unpredictable.”

—NPR, Best Books of 2015

"One of the most inspiring artists of our time.... A prophet of creativity."

—Kanye West

Book Details

Hardcover List Price: $27.99 • ISBN: 9781632060280 • Paperback List Price: $19.99 • ISBN: 9781632060952 • Pub: Mar 31, 2015 • 6” x 9” • 400 pages • Fiction: Hispanic & Latino / Autobiography—artists and directors / Spiritual / Jewish / Family Sagas • Territory: World English • eBook ISBN: 9781632060075

Buy from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble IndieBound | iTunes | Kobo | Nook

Praise and Highlights

NPR Books: His Magnum Opus—Brilliant, Mad, Unpredictable

"No one alive today, anywhere, has been able to demonstrate the sheer possibilities of artistic invention — and in so many disciplines — as powerfully as Alejandro Jodorowsky.… His new semi-autobiographical novel, Where the Bird Sings Best, translated by Alfred MacAdam, is his magnum opus, a fantastical something that in many ways mirrors the author himself: It is brilliant, mad, unpredictable.… It's not difficult to see why Where the Bird Sings Best has been compared to Gabriel García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude. But Jodorowsky's saga stands firmly on its own.... [An] absurd and glorious carnival." —NPR Books


Kanye West: Jodorowsky is One of the Most Inspiring Artists of Our Time

Alejandro Jodorowsky is one of the most inspiring artists of our time. His bravery, fearlessness and relentless innovation is a reminder of true creativity in a world full of people who hold back their true thoughts out of fear and corporate reasons. I would like to take the opportunity to thank him for inspiring a generation of brave new thinkers. I watched “Holy Mountain” on repeat while working on “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.” His sensibilities drove me to make my most progressive work to that date. Simply put, Jodorowsky is a prophet of creativity. For those who know, the mere mention of his name commands respect, just as it sends chills up the spines of weak minded, fake creative, pieces of dog crap.”  —Kanye West, quoted in Bleeding Cool


LA Review of Books: Wildly Inventive—Jodorowsky’s Masterpiece

“All Jodorowsky’s work in his films—and in Where the Bird Sings Best—involves the transformation of violent acts into images of often stunning beauty. He is the archetype of “the wounded healer,” the artist-analyst driven by a need to repair his own psychic scars — that is to say, to teach by example, becoming the physician who begins by healing himself.… Wildly inventive.… Jodorowsky’s masterpiece.… As the drama unfolds, the reader’s response veers from incredulity to awe, from doubt to delight.… The momentum holds for the length of the novel as a cavalcade of outsized characters careen across the page in a frenzy that seems for once an adequate and just representation of the living fury that is history.… The images possess an extreme yet striking beauty.… It’s hard not to be moved.”  The Los Angeles Review of Books


Barnes & Noble Review: Electrifying

“Sober, dressed, and with all the lights on, I ripped through Where the Bird Sings Best—the first of Jodorowsky’s many novels to appear in English translation—in just a few enraptured days. The trick is to eschew caricature and give yourself over to the experience, at which point the wondrous strange takes over. The mind—and, god help me, the spirit—finds itself traveling in realms it could not have otherwise explored, or even dreamed exist.… Where the Bird Sings Best is electrifying... deeply invested in human emotion, and downright reverent of human bodies, in ecstasy as well as in suffering, in perfection as well as in deformation.” Barnes & Noble Review


VICE: An Excerpt with Original Artwork by Eko

"Their father, my great-grandfather, had been married to three women and was a widower three times. All his wives died giving birth the first time, and the children in turn never lasted more than three days in the cradle. According to the old gossips, Death was in love with him and out of jealousy snatched away the wives and their fruit." Excerpt in VICE


Shelf Awareness: A Superb Novelist

“[Jodorowsky is] a superb novelist.… [Where the Bird Sings Best is] gloriously readable... deliciously far-fetched.… One outrageous set piece follows another with an exhilarating density of imagination as Jodorowsky juggles tale within tale with Arabian Nights agility.… Exuberant, unrelentingly creative in its folkloric style of heightened reality, the book serves as one gigantic prequel to 2013's The Dance of Reality, his first film in 23 years and a visually dazzling masterpiece in which Jodorowsky re-creates his childhood with his parents. A master of both film and fiction, he expertly harnesses boldly surreal images to capture the gorgeous, brutal essence of life.”  —Shelf Awareness


Jazz legend John Zorn: Frightening, Hilarious, Outrageous, Touching

"Jodorowsky is today’s true Renaissance man—a master of many mediums that all point directly towards a towering and imaginative vision replete with profound insights into the real by way of the surreal. The stories told in Where the Bird Sings Best contain deep moral lessons, giving his mythic immigration story the feel of a modern day Sefer-ha-Aggadah—the classic collection of Jewish folk tales drawn from the Mishnah, Midrash, and Talmud. This long awaited and brilliantly evocative translation is a must read—frightening, hilarious, outrageous, touching, and (as is always with Jodorowsky’s work) filled with a deep core of mystic truth."  —John Zorn


Publishers Weekly: A Raucous Carnival of the Mystical and Grotesque

“This epic family saga, reminiscent of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude in structure and breadth, reads at a breakneck pace. Though ostensibly a novelization of the author's own family history, it is a raucous carnival of the surreal, mystical, and grotesque.... It weaves together Jewish philosophy, passion, humor, Tarot, ballet, circuses, natural disasters, spectacular suicides, lion tamers, knife throwers, Catholic devotion, farmers, betrayals, prostitutes, leftist politics, political violence, and the ghost of a wise rabbi who follows the family from the Old World to the New.”  —Publishers Weekly


From the Blog

All Reviews and Coverage

ArtForum: Mark Flood

Barnes & Noble Review: Review: Where the Bird Sings Best

Biographile: Inventing the Past: Notes on Jodorowsky’s Where the Bird Sings Best

Bleeding Cool: And Finally… When Kayne West Hugs Alejandro Jodorowsky

BOMB: Excerpt from Where the Bird Sings Best

Chronogram: Teaching Humanity to Admire Itself: A Psychomagical Conversation with Alejandro Jodorowsky

Flavorwire: Beyond the Screen: Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Writings as the Key to His Art

io9: Revealed: Mystical Cover Art for Jodorowsky's Autobiography

J. Weekly: New translations open windows on Jewish lives

The Jewish Book Council: Review: Where the Bird Sings Best

Jewish Business News: Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Mythical Memoir Explores Magic And Dreams

Largehearted Boy: Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week

Literary Hub: Jodorowsky on God, Anti-Semitism and the Uses of Poetry

LitReactor: Bookshots: Where the Bird Sings Best

The Los Angeles Review of Books: The Art of Disillusionment: Alejandro Jodorowsky and the Uses of Fiction

Matt’s Stats: Review: Where the Bird Sings Best

New York Times Magazine: The Psychomagical Realism of Alejandro Jodorowsky

Now Read This!: Review: Where the Bird Sings Best

NPR Books: A Filmmaker's Surreal Vision On The Page In Where The Bird Sings Best

NPR Books: Excerpt: Where The Bird Sings Best

Publishers Weekly: Review: Where the Bird Sings Best

The Quietus: Myth, Magic & Social Media: An Interview With Alejandro Jodorowsky

The Reporter Group: Wild stories of Europe and South America

Shelf Awareness: Review: Where the Bird Sings Best

The Shelf Life: Nick’s Picks for April

Southern Pacific Review: Transformative Years

Tablet: Jewish Book Recommendations for Spring

VICE: Employees of the Month

VICE: Excerpt from Alejandro Jodorowsky's Autobiographical Novel, Where the Bird Sings Best

Visiones Fugitivas: Review: Where the Bird Sings Best

Withered Papyrus: Review: Where the Bird Sings Best

Word Bookstore News: Fiction We Love

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