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Birds of America

by

Birds of America Cover

 

Awards

National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist
New York Times Editor's Choice

Staff Pick

When friends tell me to pick a book for them to read that I really like, this is the one I give most often. Brilliant, wacko, kooky, sharp short stories from one of my favorite writers.
Recommended by michelle, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Birds of America is a stunning collection of twelve stories by Lorrie Moore, one of our finest authors at work today. With her characteristic wit and piercing intelligence she unfolds a series of portraits of the lost and unsettled of America, and with a trademark humor that fuels each story with pathos and understanding.

Review:

"Lorrie Moore has something that many writers of her generation don't have: She is truly odd . . . [But] Moore's stories don't leave us in the solitary confinement that oddity can create, the way Diane Arbus did in her photographs, or Flannery O'Connor in her stories. They are the dance halls and constellations in which eccentricity becomes uniqueness." Los Angeles Times

Review:

"These are memorable and absorbing stories." The Wall Street Journal

Review:

"Lorrie Moore's wonderful Birds of America should establish her as one of America's best short-story writers . . . These stories impart such terrifying truths." Philadelphia Inquirer

Review:

"A fine collection...the reader will be forever susceptible to seeing absurdity everywhere." Rachel Hall, Chicago Tribune

Review:

"Lorrie Moore's reputation as one of the country's most engaging writers of short fiction will be confirmed with this new collection...prose bristles with precisely observed detail; her insights are both sharp and complex...rant...ued with acid wit and humane insight." The Boston Book Review

Review:

"The humor of Birds of America does more than make us laugh...[Moore] skirts around the emotions and decision which her tales hinge, and for that reason her characters' blind spots and realizations are all the more nuanced." The Village Voice

Review:

"Lorrie Moore soars with Birds of America...A marvelous, fiercely funny book about great and tiny jolts of the heart, about the push and pull of relationships, about the way loved ones, slowly or suddenly, become unrecognizable . . . One of her generation's wittiest and shrewdest writers." Newsweek

Review:

"Fluid, cracked, mordant, colloquial, Moore's sentences hold, even startle...Birds of America, while often lighthearted and steadily hilarious, is a sublimely dark book...Her most potent work so far...[it] will stand by itself as one of our funniest, most telling anatomies of human love and vulnerability." The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"A marvelous collection, deeper than anything Moore has written and yet underscored by that trademark humor in the face of familiar awfulness. Her stories are tough, lean, funny, and metaphysical...Birds of America has about it a wild beauty that simply makes one feel more connected to life." The Boston Globe

Review:

"One could be trapped in an elevator with people like Moore's men, or especially her women, and feel the luckier for it." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"Moore peers into America's loneliest perches, but her delicate touch turns absurdity into a warming vitality." The New Yorker

Review:

"At once sad, funny, lyrical and prickly, Birds of America attests to the deepening emotional chiaroscuro of her wise and beguiling work." The New York Times

Review:

"Her depth of focus has increased, and with it her emotional seriousness...wise...[and] exciting." The New York Review of Books

Review:

"Her richest work to date...These new stories sparkle; they are keenly and poignantly mindful of the idioms, banalities and canards of contemporary American society, and they hum with Moore's earmark droll and incisive banter, her astonishing ability to render the intricacy of character in a few sharply focused details." Houston Chronicle

Synopsis:

From the author of Self-Help comes a bestselling collection of 12 stories which unfold a series of portraits of the lost and unsettled of America.

About the Author

Lorrie Moore is the author of the story collections Like Life and Self-Help, and the novels Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? and Anagrams. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Best American Short Stories, and Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards. She is a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Willing

Which Is More Than I Can Say About Some People

Dance in America

Community Life

Agnes of lowa

Charades

Four Calling Birds, Three French Hens

Beautiful Grade

What You Want to Do Fine

Real Estate

People Like That Are the Only People Here: Canonical Babbling in Peed Onk

Terrific Mother

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Bethany Dotson, December 4, 2012 (view all comments by Bethany Dotson)
One of the best collections of short stories that I've read in a very, very long time.

Moore neatly, perfectly, succinctly packages life into small incidents and moments, conveying a sense of disillusionment, abandonment, and isolation that surrounds all her characters. I found myself wondering if Moore hadn't lived some of these moments, because it seems fantastic to me that she would know so intimately, be able to convey so perfectly, the pain of a baby with cancer, the ex-pat.

Strangely, I found myself reading Ethan Frome and other Stories by Edith Wharton, and being stunned by the similarity in themes and everyday tragedy.

My favorite quote from the book sums this up better than I can myself, speaking of how life sometimes pushes the bounds of believable fiction:

“But this is the kind of thing that fiction is: it's the unlivable life, the strange room tacked onto the house, the extra moon that is circling the earth unbeknownst to science.”
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
Elliott, May 26, 2009 (view all comments by Elliott)
This book has now joined the list of my favorite books. These stories show that Moore has not only a sense of humor but a real love of words. She can be insightful, heartbreaking, hilarious, and always uniquely original. Along with Alice Munro and Mavis Gallant, Lorrie Moore is one of the best modern short story writers.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(9 of 17 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 2 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780312241223
Author:
Moore, Lorrie
Publisher:
Picador USA
Location:
New York :
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
United states
Subject:
Short Stories (single author)
Subject:
Birds
Subject:
United States Social life and customs.
Copyright:
Edition Number:
2
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
September 1999
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
291
Dimensions:
8.32x5.65x.80 in. .60 lbs.

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Related Subjects


Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Birds of America Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.50 In Stock
Product details 291 pages Picador USA - English 9780312241223 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

When friends tell me to pick a book for them to read that I really like, this is the one I give most often. Brilliant, wacko, kooky, sharp short stories from one of my favorite writers.

"Review" by , "Lorrie Moore has something that many writers of her generation don't have: She is truly odd . . . [But] Moore's stories don't leave us in the solitary confinement that oddity can create, the way Diane Arbus did in her photographs, or Flannery O'Connor in her stories. They are the dance halls and constellations in which eccentricity becomes uniqueness."
"Review" by , "These are memorable and absorbing stories."
"Review" by , "Lorrie Moore's wonderful Birds of America should establish her as one of America's best short-story writers . . . These stories impart such terrifying truths."
"Review" by , "A fine collection...the reader will be forever susceptible to seeing absurdity everywhere."
"Review" by , "Lorrie Moore's reputation as one of the country's most engaging writers of short fiction will be confirmed with this new collection...prose bristles with precisely observed detail; her insights are both sharp and complex...rant...ued with acid wit and humane insight."
"Review" by , "The humor of Birds of America does more than make us laugh...[Moore] skirts around the emotions and decision which her tales hinge, and for that reason her characters' blind spots and realizations are all the more nuanced."
"Review" by , "Lorrie Moore soars with Birds of America...A marvelous, fiercely funny book about great and tiny jolts of the heart, about the push and pull of relationships, about the way loved ones, slowly or suddenly, become unrecognizable . . . One of her generation's wittiest and shrewdest writers."
"Review" by , "Fluid, cracked, mordant, colloquial, Moore's sentences hold, even startle...Birds of America, while often lighthearted and steadily hilarious, is a sublimely dark book...Her most potent work so far...[it] will stand by itself as one of our funniest, most telling anatomies of human love and vulnerability."
"Review" by , "A marvelous collection, deeper than anything Moore has written and yet underscored by that trademark humor in the face of familiar awfulness. Her stories are tough, lean, funny, and metaphysical...Birds of America has about it a wild beauty that simply makes one feel more connected to life."
"Review" by , "One could be trapped in an elevator with people like Moore's men, or especially her women, and feel the luckier for it."
"Review" by , "Moore peers into America's loneliest perches, but her delicate touch turns absurdity into a warming vitality."
"Review" by , "At once sad, funny, lyrical and prickly, Birds of America attests to the deepening emotional chiaroscuro of her wise and beguiling work."
"Review" by , "Her depth of focus has increased, and with it her emotional seriousness...wise...[and] exciting."
"Review" by , "Her richest work to date...These new stories sparkle; they are keenly and poignantly mindful of the idioms, banalities and canards of contemporary American society, and they hum with Moore's earmark droll and incisive banter, her astonishing ability to render the intricacy of character in a few sharply focused details."
"Synopsis" by , From the author of Self-Help comes a bestselling collection of 12 stories which unfold a series of portraits of the lost and unsettled of America.
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