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Like Life

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  3,602 Ratings  ·  245 Reviews
In Like Life's eight exquisite stories, Lorrie Moore's characters stumble through their daily existence. These men and women, unsettled and adrift and often frightened, can't quite understand how they arrived at their present situations. Harry has been reworking a play for years in his apartment near Times Square in New York. Jane is biding her time at a cheese shop in a M ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published September 3rd 2002 by Vintage (first published 1990)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Bill  Kerwin
Jun 08, 2016 Bill Kerwin rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories

Are you the kind of person who has a sarcastic sense of humor but find yourself surrounded by people who can't seem to get the joke? If so, you might really like this book.

These are bleak, funny stories about lost people, written in a brisk, colloquial prose that sparkles with a wit that never masks the desperation of the characters' disorganized lives. The typical story features an East Coast intellectual woman marooned in the Midwest, using irony to defend herself in an environment impervious
May 19, 2007 Tao rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Richard Yates, Todd Hasak-Lowy
I like this book.

I have read this book many times. I do not read it that much anymore. A lot of it is annoying to me now but I read it many times before. I read some of the stories maybe 10 times.

I feel like Lorrie Moore worked a lot harder and longer and with more agony in her face while editing than anyone else I have read, for short stories.
Dec 26, 2014 Snotchocheez rated it really liked it

Each book I've read of Lorrie Moore's slides me even closer to unconditional love. (okay, not yet reaching for hyperbole like "she can transcribe the Phone Book and I'd read it" but pretty close). From sentence construction that sets off Pavlovian salivation to her ability of taking mundane, random life moments and transforming them into something universally relevant, Ms. Moore's made my "Must Read Anything of Hers" list. Six of the 8 stories of her Like Life were a joy, though because it was s
Sep 22, 2016 Teresa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: n-usa, g-contos, e2
A sinopse diz que esta colectânea de contos descreve o abismo emocional entre homens e mulheres e o receio de uma ligação afectiva. Não confirmo nem desminto, pois não consegui ultrapassar o abismo existente entre mim e a escrita de Lorrie Moore.
Comecei todos os contos e só consegui terminar o primeiro. Tenho pena...talvez com "Pássaros da América" seja diferente...
Paul Bryant
May 16, 2008 Paul Bryant rated it liked it
Adam Mars-Jones has this to say about LM:

"The dominant influence on American short fiction when Moore started publishing was the stoic minimalism of Raymond Carver, the recovering binger's pledge of: 'One sentence at a time.' She escaped that influence, and was spared the struggle of throwing it off, but its underlying principle of whittling away excess is something her stories badly need. A Lorrie Moore story can sometimes be like a schoolroom full of precocious kids, every sentence raising bot
Emalie Soderback
May 25, 2009 Emalie Soderback rated it it was amazing
This book is an inspiration in it’s quiet deliverance of realistic characters. Constructed of eight short stories about the loveliness and heartache in the smallest most trite life experiences, it was compelling and I busted through it nonstop. This created an obsession with reading as many books of hers as I could get ahold of, as is evident in my reading list for 2008; I admire her style so much.

"Moore dances around the edges of broken relationships with a delicacy that expresses both despair,
lyn straine
Oct 11, 2009 lyn straine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literary-fiction
Lorrie Moore is one of my favorite contemporary authors. I have a big collection of her short stories on order from Amazon, but I was glad to see this smaller, early collection hiding in the library (most places only carry Birds of America). Her writing is so poignant, incisive and witty, with such precise and startling figures of speech--I both love it and hate it at the same time, because I know I'll never achieve what she manages to in prose. Moore's gifts are luminous; that rare person who c ...more
Anne Sanow
Feb 08, 2008 Anne Sanow rated it liked it
I know this is supposed to be everyone's "early"-Moore favorite, but it just isn't mine. The much-anthologized "You're Ugly, Too" is fine--not brilliant, sorry, but perfectly fine--but I find many of the others to have a weird kind of rage or self-hatred or insecurity or something boiling up from within that gives them a sour tone. Moore harnesses all that said rage/self-hatred/insecurity to better effect elsewhere, I think.

Dec 13, 2007 Juliet rated it it was amazing
in "two boys" a strange young woman is seeing two very differant guys at once. it's such a weird story. really dark and sort of funny- here's an excerpt:

"I mean, if I were sleeping with somebody else also, wouldn't that make everyone happy?" She thought again of Boy Number Two, whom too often she denied. When she hung up, she would phone him.

"Happy?" hooted Number One. "More than happy. We're talking delirious." He was the funny one. After they made love, he'd sigh, open his eyes, and say, "Was
Feb 18, 2009 Christopher rated it liked it
I have to give this collection three stars because Lorrie Moore's writing is just that good; no matter what her subject matter, at the very least, I always enjoy hearing her voice and encountering her narrative structures. However, it's a somewhat mean-spirited collection. Almost all of the characters are women displaced from the East Coast to the Midwest, who seem not necessarily unable to understand midwestern culture so much as unwilling to even attempt to, and because of this I often find my ...more
Stephanie Sun
Jan 31, 2015 Stephanie Sun rated it really liked it
Shelves: dead-tree, mfa
“Zoë came up, slow, from behind and gave him a shove.”

The fourth story in Like Life, “You’re Ugly, Too,” is most likely Lorrie Moore’s most anthologized story. It would be interesting to try to estimate how many people worldwide own at least three copies of it. It has been printed, for instance, in: (1) Like Life; (2) The New Yorker magazine in 1989; (3) The New Yorker’s 2000 anthology of New York stories Wonderful Town: New York Stories from The New Yorker; (4) the Best American series’ 2000
Emma Bolden
Jun 28, 2012 Emma Bolden rated it really liked it
I am already regretting only giving this collection four stars, and will probably change that soon. I didn't love this as much as Self-Help and Birds of America, but it's a stunning book. I think my main sticking point with it is the title story -- I couldn't really figure out why or how it was set in The Future. Then again, I have very serious ideas about setting a story in The Future -- I feel like The Future needs to be absolutely necessary to the plot. If this story were set in 1988, it woul ...more
Joan Colby
Apr 24, 2010 Joan Colby rated it it was amazing
Remarkable early stories by the vaunted Moore. Her ability with language and her aptitude for changing voice according to the narrative's needs are exceptional. The well regarded story "You're Ugly, Too" has a protagonist with a distinctive ironic style that is captivating.
Jun 18, 2016 Alan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
1993 notebook: a long flirtation on trains and buses with Lorrie Moore's 'Like life', wicked, funny, sad, deep, just great stories. Good place to read them too, commuting among so many different people with different plans and ambitions.
Leo Robertson
Aug 14, 2015 Leo Robertson rated it really liked it
I knew I was going to love this one. Which I guess is why I avoided reading it for so long. I don't think I like guaranteed pleasers!

What We Life When We Love About Like
Pretty sure I borrowed this from Meg over two years ago. Sorry Meg! Thanks Meg!

On the title page is what seems to be a stamp mark from a used book store in Kho Tao, Thailand. There is probably a good story there for Meg to tell in comments.

I'm not the most practiced short story reader, with only medium Lorrie Moore exposure. In high school I got a copy of Birds of America at the Seminary Co-op Bookstore in Chicago, because I liked the stickers on the cover and because that store always made me f
Nov 11, 2008 Ciara rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: lorrie moore fans, people who are bored & dissatisfied, aspiring short story writers
full disclosure: i really like lorrie moore's books, but i can't always tell one from the other. is this the one that is all in second-person? i don't think so. i think this is some other one. is this even a novel, or is it short stories? i can't remember. she should get her publishing house to spruce up the covers of her books a little more so i can tell them apart. basically, the four stars come from the consistent strength of moore as a writer. you can pick up anything she has written & i ...more
Vincent Scarpa
Nov 25, 2014 Vincent Scarpa rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed revisiting this collection after a few years. "You're Ugly, Too," is still Lorrie Moore at her absolute best. Also continue to love "The Jewish Hunter" and "Starving Again." The title story I still can't quite get my arms around; it's quite bizarre and resists interpretation, I think.
Dec 05, 2015 Ruth rated it really liked it
i stayed in bed for four hours and read it through and I can't think of a better way to spend a saturday
J. Danielle Dorn
Because Stephanie will freak out that the starrage isn't higher: compared to Self-Help, in which pretty much every story made me want to hug the book to my chest and wail about being "gotten" and did interesting, sweet things with the English language, only a couple of the stories in here really stood out. The musical-loving history professor with the chin hair who went to New York to visit her sister was particularly memorable.

Whatever it's still better than like 67% of what was written in the
Sep 17, 2011 Leo rated it really liked it
Moore is amazing. She's able to weave in and out of the empty gaps of people's lives and put down markers on her pages as stories. Without naming them, she simply points out the little aches that we don't know what to call and taps you on the back and says, "There, there." Sure, it's not a cure, and certainly, awareness doesn't solve anything, and neither does a tap on the back, but it's something and that something should count; if only to show that others, too, have those same nameless gaps an ...more
Vivienne Strauss
Aug 31, 2015 Vivienne Strauss rated it it was amazing
one of the funniest bits to me from the title story:

People with money would spend six dollars on a cocktail for themselves but not eighty cents toward a draft beer for a guy with a shirt like that. Rudy would return home with enough cash for one new brush, and with that new brush would paint a picture of a bunch of businessmen sodomizing farm animals. "The best thing about figure painting," he liked to say, "is deciding what everyone will wear."
Trever Polak
3.5. Although I think Moore is a talented writer, these stories are just depressing. Sure, there's humor, but the omniscient narrator uses this humor in the same way the characters in the stories do: as a defense mechanism. We're hearing something a bit defeatist, so let's talk about this thing the character said once. It's not necessarily good or bad that Moore does this, it's just different. I will read more of her, but I just hope it's not as bleak.
Aug 05, 2009 Tuck rated it it was amazing
she is the best. these stories' voices change too, from super modern like joe meno or ben ehrenreich to old fashioned like john cheever or ozick. here's a quote "....and left the apartment to roam the streets again, to find an open newsstand, a safe coffee shop that didn't put a maraschino cherry on the rice pudding, so that even when you picked it off its mark remained, soaked in, like blood by Walt Disney."

Alex Merrett
Mar 17, 2014 Alex Merrett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While collections of this nature are occasionally just dribble trays for completists, this one is rather more compelling in and of itself. With its eight stories focused tightly on the discrepancy between men and women, and what they hopelessly seek from one another, Moore somehow manages to escape tedium. Boil-in-the-bag tales these ain’t; they require a far more poncy term suggestive of infinite and daunting imagination that hasn’t been invented. The open spaces between the pummelling sentence ...more
Lee Kofman
Jan 31, 2015 Lee Kofman rated it really liked it
Although there was something annoying about the sense of hopelessness in this book (all the short stories kept reinforcing how much modern, urban people are incapable of intimacy, how they’re averse to emotional risk taking) and about Moore's remoteness from her characters, I still loved the book and also learned from it a lot for my own work. I loved how every story was really also about the relationship between people and cities/landscapes. Moore portrays NY and Midwest as oppressive places, b ...more
Do you live alone? Is your tub overflowing with sewage? How many cats do you own? Are they ill? You enjoy puns, right? Do you live above a butcher shop? Are you in love with two boys at once, but can't pick which you love more? Is someone you know very ill? Is a British boy living in your absent daughter's room? Well?
May 03, 2016 Bridget rated it liked it
This collection of stories was a mixed bag. It starts out strong, with "Two Boys," a story about a woman living above a meat plant, (how's that for symbolism?) caught between a married man who she's convinced herself she loves, and a man who treats her well that she is ambivalent about. I also liked "Places to Look for Your Mind" and "You're Ugly, Too". Moore can be slyly funny, and the way she writes about lonely characters is heartbreaking. That said, I found many of the stories dated. I know ...more
Xavier Shay
Feb 16, 2015 Xavier Shay rated it really liked it
"but he had taken the work too personally and had had too many run-ins with editors. “Don’t fuck with my prose,” he’d been known to say in a loud voice."

“I said, something wonderful. Say something about springtime.” “It is sloppy and wet. It is a beast from the sea.”

"She knew there were only small joys in life—the big ones were too complicated to be joys when you got all through—and once you realized that, it took a lot of the pressure off."

"“You only live at once.” Which seemed to her all the m
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Play Book Tag: Like Life by Lorrie Moore 2 11 Feb 07, 2016 08:52AM  
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Lorrie Moore was born in Glens Falls, New York in 1957. She attended St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, where she tutored on an Indian reservation, and was editor of the university literary magazine and, at age 19, won Seventeen Magazine’s Fiction Contest. After graduating summa cum laude, she worked in New York for two years before going on to received a Masters in Fine Arts from Cornel ...more
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“This is what happened in love. One of you cried a lot and then both of you grew sarcastic.” 777 likes
“One had to build shelters. One had to make pockets and live inside them.” 668 likes
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