Friday, March 21, 2014

"Bark," by Lorrie Moore

Many readers, I among them, have been waiting for a new collection of short stories from the well respected writer Lorrie Moore, and now it has arrived; it was worth the wait. “Bark” (Knopf, 2014) contains eight stories, each a small marvel. Moore understands human nature well, and conveys the strangeness, sadness, and humor of life, somehow all intertwined; her tone is acerbic yet humane, and quite wonderful. She writes about love, marriage, divorce, children, family, jobs, and death. She uncovers her characters’ weaknesses and fear, making readers understand and feel for these sometimes odd but very relatable people. There are real events in the background: 9/11, the Iraq war, and more. But the stories are character-driven, which I appreciate. Stepping back from writing about this particular collection, I want to note that although I am a great fan of short stories, it is much harder (for me, at least) to “review”/comment on a collection of short stories than to review a novel. It is hard to convey the same sense of specificity. But I do want to convey that this is a strong and compelling collection.

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