Birds of America by Lorrie Moore

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A long-awaited collection of stories--twelve in all--by one of the most exciting writers at work today, the acclaimed author of Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? and Self-Help. Stories remarkable in their range, emotional force, and dark laughter, and in the sheer beauty and power of their language.
        From the opening story, "Willing"--about a second-rate movie actress in her thirties who has moved back to Chicago, where she makes a seedy motel room her home and becomes involved with a mechanic who has not the least idea of who she is as a human being--Birds of America unfolds a startlingly brilliant series of portraits of the unhinged, the lost, the unsettled of our America.
        In the story "Which Is More Than I Can Say About Some People" ("There is nothing as complex in the world--no flower or stone--as a single hello from a human being"), a woman newly separated from her husband is on a long-planned trip through Ireland with her mother. When they set out on an expedition to kiss the Blarney Stone, the image of wisdom and success that her mother has always put forth slips away to reveal the panicky woman she really is.
        In "Charades," a family game at Christmas is transformed into a hilarious and insightful (and fundamentally upsetting) revelation of crumbling family ties.
        In "Community Life,"a shy, almost reclusive, librarian, Transylvania-born and Vermont-bred, moves in with her boyfriend, the local anarchist in a small university town, and all hell breaks loose. And in "Four Calling Birds, Three French Hens," a woman who goes through the stages of grief as she mourns the death of her cat (Anger, Denial, Bargaining, Häagen Dazs, Rage) is seen by her friends as really mourning other issues: the impending death of her parents, the son she never had, Bosnia.
        In what may be her most stunning book yet, Lorrie Moore explores the personal and the universal, the idiosyncratic and the mundane, with all the wit, brio, and verve that have made her one of the best storytellers of our time.

About Lorrie Moore

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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 March 7, 2012 by Vintage. 308 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Or, in a practically perfect little story (neatly titled “Four Calling Birds, Three French Hens”), there’s the housewife who mourns her dead cat, is chastened by her husband’s understandable exasperation, yet is still gripped by “the mystery of interspecies love.— Moore writes knowingly about fam...

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Publishers Weekly

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Though the characters in these 12 stories are seen in such varied settings as Iowa, Ireland, Maryland, Louisiana and Italy, they are all afflicted with ennui, angst and aimlessness. They can't communi

Aug 31 1998 | Read Full Review of Birds of America: Stories

BC Books

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Moore writes stories that lay you flat as you move from absurdity to tragedy to the quotidian with diamond-edged wit.

Feb 20 2007 | Read Full Review of Birds of America: Stories


Almost twenty-five years ago, Lorrie Moore single-handedly revolutionized the short story genre with her collection, Self-Help.

Sep 17 2009 | Read Full Review of Birds of America: Stories

Entertainment Weekly

The world of Lorrie Moore — hand-wringing, painfully lucid author of Self Help — has grown at once sleeker and more complicated.

Sep 25 1998 | Read Full Review of Birds of America: Stories

There had been a parade of flings -- in the end, they'd made her laugh: Ha!

Oct 02 1998 | Read Full Review of Birds of America: Stories

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