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|Photo Credit Zane Williams.
"..when you read really trashy newspapers about people killing each other and all, they're usually in the midst of a divorce."
Lorrie Moore is extremely good about letting her work speak for itself. She's a great live reader of her own stories. But she's also a teacher and her ability to convey ideas about her own writing came to the fore when we sat down to talk about the stories in 'Bark.'
Discussing a collection of short stories is a huge challenge for me, as I prefer to let readers explore the prose and the stories on their own. So when you pull out the plots and the actual prose from a short story, you have to be careful not to tear what remains to shreds, but again, Moore knows her own work and she lives in the canon. So a discussion about Lorrie Moore's work with Lorrie Moore is doubly informed.
Divorce is, of course, much on the minds of the characters in 'Bark,' but it's not the only thing. This is a book first and foremost that offers readers snapshots of how we live today. In a sense, this book is sort of a documentary, and while the stories are all fiction, it tells you more about the way that most Ame3ricans are getting by in the early 21st century than a raft of non-fiction, and in a manner that is much more charismatic.
Charisma is actually a key here, I realize in retrospect. Lorrie Moore has the easy authority that lends the writer an aura of the charismatic, the hypnotic. I suspect that this is because she knows us better than we know ourselves. She also knows literature better than most of us, and readers will find the literary allusions we discussed in the stories really quite fascinating. After hearing her, your reading and re-reading will be all the more enjoyable.