Saturday, March 1, 2014

Bark by Lorrie Moore

Lorrie Moore is acknowledged in the literary world as one of the masters of the short story genre.  In this new collection, she gives the reader eight stories that explore the human condition and our need for connection.

In the first story, "Debarking" the protagonist has recently gone through a divorce.  He deals with the loss of his marriage and constant time with his children.  In time, he starts to reach out and establishes a new relationship with a woman who has a teenage son.  The story follows the difficulties of starting anew with someone else and having to adjust to their personalities and needs. 

In "Wings" the author explores the end of life and how for many people all loving relationships have fallen away due to time and death, leaving them alone for the last journey.  They are especially susceptible to manipulation by others as they try to not be alone at the end.  It also explores the death of long-term relationships that may have been held together by nothing more than inertia after the first blush of lust has dried up.

Moore is the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English, a post she accepted after almost three decades at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Her stories have appeared in The New Yorker and the Paris Review.  Stories have been included in anthologies such as the 1998 edition of The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Short Stories of The Century and Children Playing Before A Statue Of Hercules.  Readers will find much to ponder after reading these stories about the nature of love and our never ending need for others to share our lives with.  This book is recommended for readers of literary fiction and those who enjoy the short story genre.

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