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Preview — Birds of America by Lorrie Moore
Birds of America
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
"Yeah, I like them all right," he said, and she would ...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
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
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
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
Some have intriguing but underdeveloped possibilities that peter out without direction or point. Some have a good story that doesn't seem to belong in the story where it appears. Some start out well but then veer off, crossing a line that deflates the magic. Some just meander about a bit too long.
"Four Calling Birds", "Which is More Than I Can Say About Some People", and "Terrific Mother" ...more
But these stories, they aren’t magical—not for me. I was not compelled to go on a little ...more