Birds of America: Stories

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Mar 7, 2012 - Fiction - 291 pages
476 Reviews
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.

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Amazing short story writer. - Goodreads
she's obsessed with puns. - Goodreads
Her prose is so fantastic it intimidates me. - Goodreads
It felt like a gimmick. - Goodreads
Excellent, excellent writing, but quite depressing. - Goodreads
The ending is fucking phenomenal. - Goodreads

Review: Birds of America

User Review  - S. Zainab Williams - Goodreads

I love a book that makes me laugh in spite of my surroundings. Moore is so expert at extracting those splinters of neurosis that make humans human and that make the mundane complex, fascinating, and absurd. Each of the 12 stories is a flash photograph of the human condition's shadowy corners. Read full review

Review: Birds of America

User Review  - Bill Hsu - Goodreads

Beneath all his eccentricities, he possessed a streak of pragmatism so sharp and deep that others mistook it for sanity. What a sentence! There's a lot to enjoy here, though Moore's relentless focus ... Read full review

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WhichIs More Than I Can Say About Some People
Dancein America
Agnesof Iowa
Four Calling Birds Three French Hens
What You Want to Do Fine
Real Estate
Canonical Babbling

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About the author (2012)

Lorrie Moore is a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Best American Short Stories, and Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards. She is the author of two novels and two previous short story collections.

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