Lorrie Moore’s prodigious strengths as a storyteller—her sneaky dovetailing of humor and sadness (Davis Sedaris has described the structure of her stories as “joke, joke, joke…then you’re devastated”) and the playful, concise versatility of her language (“Aloneness was like riding a bike. At gunpoint”)—are much on display in her latest collection, Bark: Stories. Newly present: a particular fascination with the tribulations of middle age (divorce, death) and life’s own prodigious capacity to disappoint the already disappointed— “Living,” as one character notes, “did not mean one joy piled upon another. It was merely the hope for less pain.” Sure, grimmer than previous collections, but still chockablock with the kind of pathos and humor that will move readers to laughter, then tears.
Lorrie Moore, Bark: Stories. Published by Knopf (2014). 208 pages.
About the Author: Gregory Brown
Gregory Brown, Reviews Editor, hails from Vancouver Island, in beautiful British Columbia. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Greensboro MFA program for Fiction and Memorial University of Newfoundland's Master of Arts program in English Literature. He is the recipient of the Roy Daniels Memorial Essay Prize and his fiction and criticism have appeared in Postcript and Paragon.