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Bark: Storiesby Lorrie Moore
Synopses & Reviews
A new collection of stories by one of America’s most beloved and admired short-story writers, her first in fifteen years, since Birds of America.
These eight masterly stories reveal Lorrie Moore at her most mature and in a perfect configuration of craft, mind, and bewitched spirit, as she explores the passage of time and summons up its inevitable sorrows and hilarious pitfalls to reveal her own exquisite, singular wisdom.
In “Debarking,” a newly divorced man tries to keep his wits about him as the United States prepares to invade Iraq, and against this ominous moment, we see — in all its irresistible wit and darkness — the perils of divorce and what can follow in its wake...
In “Foes,” a political argument goes grotesquely awry as the events of 9/11 unexpectedly manifest themselves at a fund-raising dinner in Georgetown... In “The Juniper Tree,” a teacher visited by the ghost of her recently deceased friend is forced to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” in a kind of nightmare reunion... And in “Wings,” we watch the inevitable unraveling of two once-hopeful musicians, neither of whom held fast to their dreams nor struck out along other paths, as Moore deftly depicts the intricacies of dead-ends-ville and the workings of regret...
Here are people beset, burdened, buoyed; protected by raising teenage children; dating after divorce; facing the serious illness of a longtime friend; setting forth on a romantic assignation abroad, having it interrupted mid-trip, and coming to understand the larger ramifications and the impossibility of the connection . . . stories that show people coping with large dislocation in their lives, with risking a new path to answer the desire to be in relation — to someone...
Gimlet-eyed social observation, the public and private absurdities of American life, dramatic irony, and enduring half-cracked love wend their way through each of these narratives in a heartrending mash-up of the tragic and the laugh-out-loud — the hallmark of life in Lorrie-Moore-land.
“Heartbreaking....Mordantly funny....Takes us on a rare flight of self-transcendence....Moments of recognition bring jolts like electric shocks.” The New York Review of Books
“Wonderful....Masterful....Profound....Not a single false note.” USA Today
“[Moore] deftly paints with negative space, releasing tremendous poignancy....A vibrant and nimble display of Moore’s signature wit.” San Francisco Chronicle
“One of the finest short story writers in the country.” Los Angeles Review of Books
“Uncanny....Moving....A powerful collection.” The Washington Post
“Here is why one reads Moore: the terse, true polish of her emotional wisdom.” The Boston Globe
“Probably no writer since Nabokov has been as language-obsessed as Moore....[Bark] lets us contemplate and savor just what makes her work unique.” The New York Times Book Review
“The short form is her true forte. Her talent is best exhibited in the collection’s longest stories (each around 40 pages); her comfort with that length is indicated by her careful avoidance of overplotting, which, of course, dulls the effect of an expansive short story, and by not allowing the stories to seem like the outlines of novels that never got developed.” Booklist (Starred Review)
“One of the best short story writers in America resumes her remarkable balancing act, with a collection that is both hilarious and heartbreaking, sometimes in the same paragraph.…In stories both dark and wry, Moore wields a scalpel with surgical precision.” Kirkus (Starred Review)
“These stories are laugh-out-loud funny, as well as full of pithy commentary on contemporary life and politics.” Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
“Moore once again brings her acute intelligence and wit to play.…The language has a fizzy rhythm that will have the reader turning the pages. Smart, funny, and overlaid with surprising metaphor.…Highly recommended.” Library Journal (Starred Review)
About the Author
Lorrie Moore, after many years as a professor of creative writing at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, is now Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English at Vanderbilt University. Moore has received honors for her work, among them the Irish Times International Prize for Literature and a Lannan Foundation fellowship, as well as the PEN/Malamud Award and the Rea Award for her achievement in the short story. Her most recent novel, A Gate at the Stairs, was shortlisted for the 2010 Orange Prize for Fiction and for the PEN/Faulkner Award.
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