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.”
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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.
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Picador USA -
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.
by Los Angeles Times,
"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."
by The Wall Street Journal,
"These are memorable and absorbing stories."
by Philadelphia Inquirer,
"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."
by Rachel Hall, Chicago Tribune,
"A fine collection...the reader will be forever susceptible to seeing absurdity everywhere."
by The Boston Book 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."
by The Village Voice,
"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."
"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."
by The New York Times Book 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."
by The Boston Globe,
"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."
by San Francisco Chronicle,
"One could be trapped in an elevator with people like Moore's men, or especially her women, and feel the luckier for it."
by The New Yorker,
"Moore peers into America's loneliest perches, but her delicate touch turns absurdity into a warming vitality."
by The New York Times,
"At once sad, funny, lyrical and prickly, Birds of America attests to the deepening emotional chiaroscuro of her wise and beguiling work."
by The New York Review of Books,
"Her depth of focus has increased, and with it her emotional seriousness...wise...[and] exciting."
by Houston Chronicle,
"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."
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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