Monday, September 28, 2009


Throughout the fiction reading population, that sliver of humanity that still desperately clings to those primitive print-filled anachronisms called books, word of a new novel from Lorrie Moore sweeps like wildfire. Moore inspires a fanatical following. She deserves it, based on a handful of brilliant short stories collected in Self-Help, Like Life, and Birds of America, and a couple novels, Anagrams, and Who Will Run the Frog Hospital.

Finally, after eleven years, here comes A Gate at the Stairs.

"Ms. Moore has written her most powerful book yet," says the New York Times, "a book that gives us an indelible portrait of a young woman coming of age in the Midwest in the year after 9/11 and her initiation into the adult world of loss and grief." (Read the rest of the NYT book review by Michiko Kakutani here.)

"Her last book," Jonathan Lethem reminds us, "the 1998 story collection 'Birds of America,' included the unforgettable baby-with-­cancer story 'People Like That Are the Only People Here,' a breathtakingly dark overture to a decade’s silence — as if the Beatles had exited on 'A Day in the Life.'" Read the rest of Lethem's essay on Moore here.

Read an interview with Lorrie Moore in The Believer.


by Lorrie Moore

First, try to be something, anything, else. A movie star/astronaut. A movie star missionary. A movie star/kindergarten teacher. President of the World. Fail miserably. It is best if you fail at an early age -- say, fourteen. Early, critical disillusionment is necessary so that at fifteen you can write long haiku sequences about thwarted desire. It is a pond, a cherry blossom, a wind brushing against sparrow wing leaving for mountain. Count the syllables. Show it to your mom. She is touch and practical. She has a son in Vietnam and a husband who may be having an affair. She believes in wearing brown because it hides spots. She'll lookbriefly at your writing, then back up at you with a face blank as a donut. She'll say: "How about emptying the dishwasher?" Look away. Shove the forks in the fork drawer. Accidentally break one of the freebie gas station glasses. This is the required pain and suffering. This is only for starters.

Read the rest of "How to Become a Writer" here

A conversation with Lorrie Moore on Art Beat

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