Birds of America
From the opening story, "Willing", about a second-rate movie actress in her t...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
5 stars - "Four Calling Birds, Three French Hens"
4 stars - the joke in "Beautiful Grade" about the professor writing Flannery O'Connor art...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
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
The short version of my review: Although my overall impression is that I didn’t enjoy this book (because the bleak outlook of its characters leaves me with a vaguely depressed feeling), I appreciated the reading of it. It was surprisingly funny along the way, and Moore crafts amazingly perfect sentences.
The long version:
Birds of America is not a book to read just before falling asleep, late at night or in th...more
But these stories, they aren’t magical—not for me. I was not compelled to go on a little...more
"Though she would have preferred long ago to have died, fled, gotten it all over with, the body—Jesus, how the body!—took its time. It possessed its own wishes and nostalgias. You could not just turn neatly into light and slip out the window. You couldn’t go like that. Within one’s own departing but stubborn flesh, there was only the long, sentimental, piecemeal farewell…The body, hau...more
Moore is a master at short story writing. Her characters are so wild and so exaggerated that they become believable. She takes us into an imaginary journey with them, and we begin to recognize character traits of people we know and people we love.
Most of her character have a skewed reality; they are usually broken people...more
Stories of the lives of emotionally isolated, vaguely dissatisfied white folks. The stories told from a female narrator's perspective are much more believable than the male narration, so it's good that they're almost all from a feminine perspective.
Here's a little sample:
"Her voice was husky, vibrating, slightly flat, coming in just under each note like a saucer under a cup."(34)
"When Olena was a little girl, she had called them lie-berri...more
I liked this book, but I'm still not quite a Lorrie Moore fan. There's something distancing about her writing--sometimes the writing is so beautiful that I have to re-read it a couple of times to get the meaning o...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
Moore neatly, perfectly, succinctly packages life into small incidents and moments, conveying a sense of disillusionment, abandonment, and isolation that surrounds all her characters. I found myself wondering if Moore hadn't lived some of these moments, because it seems fantastic to me that she would know so intimately, be able to convey so perfectly, the pain of a baby with cancer, the ex-pat.
My favorite quot...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
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