Birds of America
Moore’s stories are rather bleak views of human rel ...more
Moore's writing style is subtle, and laced with a fantastic sense of wit; witness, for example, her slight mocking of the health fad craze in the names she creates for juice bars; or her sly commentary about the misnomer ...more
5 stars - "Four Calling Birds, Three French Hens"
4 stars - the joke in "Beautiful Grade" about the professor writing Flannery O'Connor art ...more
"Oh, not the raccoon story," groans Cal.
"Yes! The raccoons!" cries Eugene.
I'm sawing at my duck.
"We have raccoons sometimes in our chimney," explains
"Hmmm," I say, not surprised.
"And once we tried to smoke them out. We lit a fire, know-
ing they were there, but we hoped that the smoke would cause
them to scurry out the top and never come back. Instead, they
caught on fire and ...more
Now, in 1998, when BOA was released, I was 20. I was a junior in college at Mizzou. I was fed up for life with the academic approach to analyzing ...more
Her plot, her writing, was just an air of elegance and perfection, this is one of the quotes: “What makes ...more
"Yeah, I like them all right," he said, and she would ...more
just come across some notes on this from a 1998 notebook:
her stuff can hit like a brick round the head. She recounts bruising, tiresome relationships fearlessly, picking the right moments out. Bitterness, the brutality of what we can think and feel, and how we can't forgive ourselves. In 'Real Estate' a death from lung cancer, intertwined with a story of a burglar who makes his victims sing and writes down th ...more
First of all, with Lorrie Moore: Oh, the puns!
Second of all, she doesn't really do men. There's one story in here that takes a male character's perspective, and it's one of the weakest. It's a good faith effort, but the shortcoming seems to stem from a genuine befuddlement as to how men might dwell in themselves, how they might carry themselves from one moment to the next. That's not to say she is limited as writing from a specifically gendered perspective, or that she reads like a feminine "typ...more
“There are the notes. Now where is the money?”
The short story is no longer the commercial storytelling medium that it was in its heydey, but the copyright page of Birds of America is strong evidence that the short story system can still work incredibly well as an incubator of literary talent and new work. The publisher writes:
Eleven of these stories were originally published in slightly different form in the following: Elle: ‘Agnes of Iowa’; Harper’s: ‘What You Want to Do Fine’ (originally tit...more
Maybe it's just because everyone LOOOOOOOOOVES Lorrie Moore, but I found it a little contrived? No one is that naive, and wide eyed and simultaneously tired and sad all the time. Ever. You know? It felt like a gimmick. Because it was deployed in every story--because it is, in fact, Lorrie Moore's i ...more
"But too often she lay awake, wondering. There was something missing. Something wasn't happening to her, or was it to him? All through the summer, the thunderstorms set the sky on fire while she lay there, listening for the train sound of a tornado, which never came--though the lightning ripped open the night and lit the trees like things too suddenly remembered, then left them indecipherable again in the dar ...more
It's the polite put-down, the one-offed comment that is deeply personal and that seems almost to implicate the author and the reader. It's such a light touch, and seems to me to i ...more
There is a sense of Raymond Carver here and there in the bleakness of the largely (entirely?) Midwestern settings, but also something reminiscent of the zaniness of Donald Barthelme. There is almost always a sense of people reaching to connect and not quite making it, ...more
But these stories, they aren’t magical—not for me. I was not compelled to go on a little ...more
Every story in this collection is strong, but there are a few that were simply stunning -- "People Like Them Are The Only People Here", "Terrific Mother", "Community Life", "What You Want to Do Fine". Moore is this curious blend of very dry irony, black humor and sad pathos. In "People Like Them Are the Only People Here", a child of two is diagnosed with cancer. Lorrie Moore walks us through this grim play-by-play of a child undergoing a nephrectomy, the mot ...more