Tag Archives: Lorrie Moore

New Love – The Collected Stories of Lorrie Moore

25 Jun

I love reading debut fiction, but it has a huge downside. The waiting. Anyone who’s ever been near me in a restaurant, or on a sidewalk, or on Christmas Eve knows that patience is not one of my virtues. So let’s say I discover a new writer. What’s next? I have to hang around until they get off their asses and write me a new book.

But when you discover a veteran writer who you just happen to have never read before, you know that you have hours of reading pleasure at your eyeballtips. It’s like the thrill of embarking on a TV show when it’s already conveniently in box set form.

This is what’s happened with me and Lorrie Moore. I explained earlier this year that I had a notion I’d like her even though I wasn’t sure why. And I was right. For one thing, I’m really feeling the whole format switch. It’s been way too long since I enjoyed the company of a perfectly crafted short story, and I love that I only need to devote ten minutes to reading one before bed.

However, I’ve decided to savour these stories for as long as I can, rather than read them all at once. I think a couple here and there will go nicely with the longer-form fiction I usually read. Plus, I don’t want to lose the magic. Reading Sam Jordison’s critical look at the collection makes me scared that if I take in all these stories at once, her wit will start to lose its spark and her clever similes will begin to grate. For now though, I can appreciate the way Moore compares a thatched roof to Cleopatra’s bangs, or slowly skewers a character named Zora for being criminally unfunny in every scene: ‘Later in the evening, she’d said, “Watch this,” and she’d taken her collapsible umbrella, placed its handle on the crotch of her pants, then pressed the button that sent it rocketing out, unfurled, like a cartoon erection.’

Moore’s themes already seem repetitive (ok, I am getting a little bummed out by all the divorce talk), and her default narrative voice is slightly neurotic, but these traits work together to paint pictures of characters that I actually believe. Annoying, insecure, sometimes hilarious characters.


My Money, My Choices

20 Apr

Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of free books (well, I think it’s a lot). I’m also a big fan of my local library and an assertive gift recipient. I’m also an enormous tightwad. So when I decide to spend my hard-earned moolah on books, you know I really mean it. It’s kind of like splashing out on your favourite band’s CD even though you’ll probably just listen to it on your computer/ipod/some other mp3 player that I don’t know about. The point is, you support them. And handing over your debit card to a real human being perversely adds to the excitement of listening to their new offering.

At the moment, I plan on spending my pounds on these books:

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (third in her trilogy of highly addictive, wonderfully violent YA books).  When it comes out on August 24, natch. Not that I’ve ever seen the countdown clock.

The World Without Us, by Alan Weisman. My non-fiction tastes, weirdly, coincide with my young adult fiction tastes. The more apocalyptic, the better. The sci-fi-like science book promises to detail what would happen to the world minus the humans, but with all our crap.

The Collected Stories of Lorrie Moore, by you know who. Somehow, without ever having read her stuff, I’m sure I will love it. And I could use a short story fix.

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