Birds of America by Lorrie Moore
Lorrie Moore was one of those names I kept hearing around the book blogosphere, so when I saw this in fave used bookstore (I know, getting a little repetitive in the “where I got this book” department…) I picked it up.
Birds of America is a collection of short stories. What is there to say? Moore’s writing is really, really good. And the stories are really, really sad. So, you might think that this wouldn’t be the best choice for late-night-when-you-can’t-sleep reading (which is what I found myself doing a few times), and yet… somehow it was okay, because they are funny (witty, clever, biting, sarcastic) as well as sad.
Not having read any of Moore’s work before, I kept waiting for her to veer into slit-your-wrists territory, but she always pulled back before she got there (now that’s talent). The negative reviews at Amazon (I do so love reading those after I finish a book! hee!) call the book depressing, but I disagree. It’s sad, but not depressing.
Since BoA was published in 1998, I couldn’t resist a trip back to the early days of the interwebs:
- NY Times Featured Author: Lorrie Moore (from September 20, 1998).
- Dave Eggers reviews Birds of America — “funny and mean” — in Salon (from October 2, 1998).
- Interview with Lorrie Moore in Salon (from October 27, 1998).
One of the best things I’ve read this year!