A new volume of short stories by Lorrie Moore is well worth celebrating. She is not a prolific writer and each new offering is polished until it sparkles. Her imagination focuses on tiny civilizations and runs wild within their shifty parameters. The reader is left to wonder and marvel, intrigued by unpredictability.
Consider the following: A picnic lunch with “difficult peaches. Lurid lingerie and flashing jewelry in a sad woman’s bureau. A lobbyist at a DC gala who survived the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon. A late-night, do-it-yourself memorial service. A burly group of Harley Davidson riders who crash a wedding.
Reading these stories, you are sure to notice that none of Moore’s people lead what might be called an ordinary life yet they persevere in their routines and misapprehensions as though playing by the rules. Because you, the reader, are off-balance from the start (“Every family is a family of alligators”), your choices are limited: stop reading (absolutely not recommended) or keep turning pages and take the ride to wherever it leads. Why not? Every single character is more interesting than most people you’ll ever meet and you get to relish the wry, rueful prose.
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