These humorous and poignant tales of lovers, loneliness, and never-quite-belonging, delivered in her characteristically knowing, wry voice, confirm Lorrie Moore as a master of the short story form.
Self-Help, Like Life, Birds of America and Bark, her four acclaimed collections, are all here, and for good measure so too are a handful of stories excerpted from the novels Anagrams, Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? and The Gate at the Stairs. But at the author’s request, the order of play is gloriously random: ‘I didn’t want this Everyman’s volume to be one that simply glued all the books together in the obvious sequential order,’ she writes. ‘I wanted instead to let the magical alphabet set individual stories side by side in an otherwise unexpected and unchronological way so that friction or frost might occur: they could jostle and rap and spark or repel …. It might all be like a playlist set to shuffle …’ So, a joyous new discovery for first-time readers and for Moore fans, a multitude of new angles from which to view her incomparable ouevre.