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Like Life

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  3,802 Ratings  ·  258 Reviews
In this brilliant collection of stories Lorrie Moore addresses herself to a contemporary emotional dilemma - the widening gulf between men and women, and the simultaneous yearning for, and fear of closeness.
Paperback, 178 pages
Published 1990 by Faber & Faber
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(showing 1-30)
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Bill  Kerwin
Jan 01, 2009 Bill Kerwin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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 21, 2014 Snotchocheez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
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
May 31, 2014 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...
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
Oct 11, 2009 lyn straine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Connor O'Brien
Aug 20, 2008 Connor O'Brien rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i read this book while i was backpacking through europe, the stories are very funny and also very depressing.
Dec 12, 2007 Juliet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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.

Mar 06, 2017 Zadignose marked it as not-now  ·  review of another edition
I'm going to describe a certain metaphorical school. This school is metaphorical, not actual, yet being metaphorical, it is also immaterial, and thus it could be anywhere, in anything, and thus it can sometimes be found in actual schools. It can even be found in phenomena, such as the phenomenon known as reading-many-literary-fiction-magazines-and-wanting-to-be-a-writer. It can even haunt certain genres; it is the devil hiding in the genre known (and gnowm) as literary fiction.

It is a dreadful s
Stephanie Sun
Nov 19, 2012 Stephanie Sun rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
To me, this wasn't as strong a collection as Moore's debut collection Self Help was. Although Moore writes about similar themes as in her first collection, I felt that this particular collection of short stories was lacking a lot of the humour that her first collection had. As a result, to me this collection had a much more hopeless feeling, which at times made it harder to get through.

To me, the highlights in this collection were Vissi D'Arte, Joy, and the title story Like Life. There are only
Jul 21, 2008 Alan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Joan Colby
Apr 24, 2010 Joan Colby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Oct 26, 2012 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Leo Robertson
Jun 11, 2014 Leo Robertson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 20, 2012 Krista rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love. Love. Love Moore. Her writing is rich and complicated in all the right kind of ways. And her language is fresh and vivid.
Nov 04, 2008 Ciara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 13, 2011 Leo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 08, 2009 Tuck rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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."

Vivienne Strauss
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."
Vincent Scarpa
Nov 25, 2014 Vincent Scarpa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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?
Tom McDade
Apr 25, 2017 Tom McDade rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-fiction
Stories I liked best, "Joy" and "Places to Look for Your Mind."

Samples of her find writing:

She handed him her fliers. He put them down in a pile near the rhinoceros paperweight, and he slid his hand down his face like a boy with a squeegee. She stood and kissed his ear, which was a delicate thing, a sea creature with the wind of her kiss trapped inside.”

“‘Mom, this lady has a cat too.’ She called to her mother but it was her brother who came up and stood beside her. The two of them stuck their t
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
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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.” 799 likes
“One had to build shelters. One had to make pockets and live inside them.” 667 likes
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