Bark by Lorrie Moore
Stories

67%

19 Critic Reviews

If television’s primary goal is to keep us watching television, something similar can be said of Bark: its stories tend to feel like easily consumed entertainments, with intimations at wisdom and meaning just compelling enough to keep us reading.
-Globe and Mail

Synopsis

A new collection of stories by one of America’s most beloved and admired short-story writers, her first in fifteen years, since Birds of America (“Fluid, cracked, mordant, colloquial . . . Will stand by itself as one of our funniest, most telling anatomies of human love and vulnerability.” —The New York Times Book Review, cover).
These eight masterly stories reveal Lorrie Moore at her most mature and in a perfect configuration of craft, mind, and bewitched spirit, as she explores the passage of time and summons up its inevitable sorrows and hilarious pitfalls to reveal her own exquisite, singular wisdom.

In “Debarking,” a newly divorced man tries to keep his wits about him as the United States prepares to invade Iraq, and against this ominous moment, we see—in all its irresistible wit and darkness—the perils of divorce and what can follow in its wake . . .

In “Foes,” a political argument goes grotesquely awry as the events of 9/11 unexpectedly manifest themselves at a fund-raising dinner in Georgetown . . . In “The Juniper Tree,” a teacher visited by the ghost of her recently deceased friend is forced to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” in a kind of nightmare reunion . . . And in “Wings,” we watch the inevitable unraveling of two once-hopeful musicians, neither of whom held fast to their dreams nor struck out along other paths, as Moore deftly depicts the intricacies of dead-ends-ville and the workings of regret . . .

Here are people beset, burdened, buoyed; protected by raising teenage children; dating after divorce; facing the serious illness of a longtime friend; setting forth on a romantic assignation abroad, having it interrupted mid-trip, and coming to understand the larger ramifications and the impossibility of the connection . . . stories that show people coping with large dislocation in their lives, with risking a new path to answer the desire to be in relation—to someone . . .

Gimlet-eyed social observation, the public and private absurdities of American life, dramatic irony, and enduring half-cracked love wend their way through each of these narratives in a heartrending mash-up of the tragic and the laugh-out-loud—the hallmark of life in Lorrie-Moore-land.



This eBook edition includes a Reading Group Guide.
 

About Lorrie Moore

See more books from this Author
Lorrie More is the author of the story collections Birds of America 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.
 
Published February 5, 2015 by Faber & Faber. 210 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Bark
All: 19 | Positive: 10 | Negative: 9

Kirkus

Excellent
on Dec 22 2013

One of the best short story writers in America resumes her remarkable balancing act with a collection that is both hilarious and heartbreaking, sometimes in the same paragraph.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Dec 16 2013

Moore’s final note is one of hope and even love—not the romantic kind, but the kind that sees the whole world, flaws and all, and embraces it anyway.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by David Gates on Feb 20 2014

The uncrowded format of “Bark” allows each story the chance it deserves for leisurely examination and appreciation, like the kind of museum retrospective you never get to see anymore. It’s just enough: No admirer of Moore’s will go away either overloaded or unsatisfied, and it lets us contemplate and savor just what makes her work unique.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Michiko Kakutani on Feb 19 2014

“Bark,” the title of Lorrie Moore’s disappointing new collection of stories, seems to refer to several things at once: the yelp of a dog, the peeling garb of a tree...Many of the stories in “Bark” suffer from being squished into contrived packages, intended to underscore similar realizations on the part of the hero or heroine.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Sophia Martelli on Feb 21 2015

...what Moore offers is the artful emergence of small, quiet truths and for that we should be grateful.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Geoff Dyer on Mar 09 2014

The good news, mathematically speaking, is that the stories are pretty much 100% brilliant...Since the stories are also, as always, extremely funny, Moore has come to enjoy the unusual distinction of being just about the darkest light writer around.

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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Philip Hensher on Feb 26 2014

This new collection is thinner than might be expected. Three out of eight stories have already been printed in the 2008 Collected Stories. This collection, too, is much more uneven than previous work. Though it contains things to cherish, it also suggests that Moore's writing has started to lose its delicate balance of tone

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NY Journal of Books

Above average
Reviewed by Ariel Balter on Feb 24 2014

Sentence by sentence, the stories in Bark are extraordinarily well crafted. Lorrie Moore can write. Moore’s prose is clear, pointed but often understated, interesting, and original...Despite its flaws, Bark is an unsettling, poignant, cohesive and extremely well written collection of stories.

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NPR

Below average
Reviewed by Maureen Corrigan on Feb 26 2014

Not every story in Bark is so memorable — in fact, I'd say there are even numbers of clunkers and keepers here.

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NPR

Below average
Reviewed by Alan Cheuse on Feb 26 2014

There are eight stories in Lorrie Moore's new collection, but only two of them really stand out...Pick up this book just for these two stories and you'll be barking up the right tree.

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NPR

Below average
Reviewed by Alan Cheuse on Feb 25 2014

This one shows us the writer putting her sly satirical trademark style to one side. It packs a real punch. The rest of the shorter pieces in this collection, as good as they are, wilt by comparison.

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Star Tribune

Above average
Reviewed by Ellen Akins on Feb 22 2014

Moore’s stories, past and again in this new slim collection, are haunted by eventualities and inevitability — not necessarily of death (though there’s always that), but of romances flagging and ambitions fizzling...In short, of life’s stories, which are marked by indifference and tend to end badly.

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Financial Times

Good
Reviewed by Erica Wagner on Feb 21 2014

Lorrie Moore is an artist who knows the power of her art, and understands that the reader – as much as the writer – must give themselves over to the experience of the story.

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LA Times

Above average
Reviewed by David L. Ulin on Feb 20 2014

"Referential" is my favorite piece in the collection, a homage of sorts to Vladimir Nabokov's 1948 story "Signs and Symbols," with which it shares a basic narrative. Revolving around a mother's visit to her teenage son in a mental institution, it is at heart an investigation into the impossibility of love.

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Globe and Mail

Above average
Reviewed by Pasha Malla on Feb 21 2014

If television’s primary goal is to keep us watching television, something similar can be said of Bark: its stories tend to feel like easily consumed entertainments, with intimations at wisdom and meaning just compelling enough to keep us reading.

Read Full Review of Bark: Stories | See more reviews from Globe and Mail

AV Club

Good
Reviewed by Laura M. Browning on Feb 24 2014

Moore can construct a gorgeous sentence, but more often, the stories in Bark focus on the moment or event rather than micro-level beauty...Though the best of the stories leave a delightful aftertaste, there’s often not enough to chew on. Still, it’s better to be left wanting more.

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The Economist

Below average
on Mar 08 2014

Only when it veers towards politics does “Bark” become clunky. Tying plots and characters to Abu Ghraib or Barack Obama’s re-election feels out of place...Still, “Bark” simultaneously honours and regrets the messiness of human relationships.

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Toronto Star

Good
Reviewed by Stephen Finucan on Mar 04 2014

The glory of Moore’s writing isn’t simply that it toys with our expectations; it is that — like life itself...A long time in coming, Bark is a reminder — if one was needed — that when it comes to writing stories, Moore is still ahead of the pack.

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National Post arts

Above average
Reviewed by Marjorie Celona on Feb 28 2014

Lorrie Moore fans will have likely encountered many of the eight stories that comprise her latest short story collection, Bark, over the past ten years (four appeared in The New Yorker), but much like seeing an old friend, familiarity is a welcome strength.

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Reader Rating for Bark
67%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 185 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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