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Anagrams by Lorrie Moore
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Jan 25, 12

Read from January 17 to February 01, 2012

Lorrie Moore's first novel proves that her affinity for puns was fully developed early on. They're a good means of reminding the reader that however plumb dark the outlook of her narrating character, she survives by humor, by not approaching anything with seriousness. What seems to be a depressing interior life eventually you understand has a certain playful, carefree aspect to it.

I like how Lorrie Moore has a distinct, jolie laide voice, off-putting a little initially, but roping in eventually with a sardonic charm. There's a few gimmicky things in here (the manifold little vignettes are so stand-alone I can picture her physically cutting and pasting the typewritten sections in different orders), but the voice is captivating. I also just like how consistently good she is in this and in Birds of America, having found something she can do well and continuing to explore it, rather than setting grandiose ambitions of explaining how we live now (which she aims for much more later in A Gate at the Stairs). I found myself noticing things about life the way her character does, things I had not noticed before. That gift alone is all the reason one ever needs to read fiction.
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