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Like Life

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  3,233 ratings  ·  219 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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May 19, 2007 Tao rated it 5 of 5 stars
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.

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
Bill  Kerwin
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
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
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
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
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
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.

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
Stephanie Sun
“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
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
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
Joan Colby
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.
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 4 of 5 stars
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
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.
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
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
"Nothing's a joke with me. It just all comes out like one."

You know when a dance studio puts on its yearly showcase and you can (if it’s not a particularly serious dance studio that cares whether toes are pointed or legs are fully extended or hands look at all graceful, or whether the art of dance is killed in one afternoon) buy your kid a solo? The showcase goes on for maybe 5 hours because all the little Brittanys and Bellas and Jessicas who resemble chickens trying to escape slaughter when th
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
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
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
Xavier Shay
"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
Thomas Graham Cotten
At some point while reading this book, I began to prefer short stories written by women. I'm still waiting for someone else to come along and set a different tone like that.
Ellen Noonan
Like her other story collections, this one is piercing, sad, funny, and not a single page goes by without an observation or turn of phrase worth reading over again.
i read this on the train home mainly
the platform is made of wooden planks on some of the parts
i think i only have anagrams to read now maybe
these short stories date back to the eighties, and give us a glimpse into the recent past. .. as seen my Lorrie Moore. And that's good enough for me. Some are surprisingly funny, think Seinfeld without the snark, but always serious at the core. Moore has a knack for writing about people who don't quite fit in. Readers who think short stories should end in a twist, or at least an epiphany, may be disappointed. Moore's stories usually wind up on a note of wisdom, sometimes so understated you can't ...more
Love. Love. Love Moore. Her writing is rich and complicated in all the right kind of ways. And her language is fresh and vivid.
yr usual lorrie moore. ya know, master of dry humor, whip-smart similes, sentences that end wonderfully out of left field. her strengths in this collection definitely showed themselves on a sentence-level and not a story-level, micro rather than macro, but they're so wonderful to read, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, that i didn't really care too much. the only story that really, really knocks it out of the park is "you're ugly, too"; i'd read it twice before and this third time i ...more
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  • Honored Guest
  • A Relative Stranger: Stories
  • Reasons to Live
  • Because They Wanted To
  • The Little Disturbances of Man
  • Tell Me a Riddle
  • The Collected Stories
  • Forever a Stranger and Other Stories
  • The Collected Stories
  • The End of the Story
  • Earthly Paradise
  • The Safety of Objects
  • My Life in Heavy Metal: Stories
  • For the Relief of Unbearable Urges
  • Among the Missing
  • A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You
  • The Collected Stories
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
More about Lorrie Moore...
A Gate at the Stairs Birds of America Self-Help Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? Bark: Stories

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“This is what happened in love. One of you cried a lot and then both of you grew sarcastic.” 731 likes
“One had to build shelters. One had to make pockets and live inside them.” 672 likes
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