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Paperback Birds of America: Stories Book

ISBN: 0312241224

ISBN13: 9780312241223

Birds of America: Stories

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Good

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Book Overview

From the author of Self-Help comes a bestselling collection of 12 stories which unfold a series of portraits of the lost and unsettled of America.

Customer Reviews

6 ratings

Title & cover are very misleading

I bought this book for our science class & was greatly disappointed. Having a description of the book before I bought it would of been a major help. I wish I could return it.

enough with the ridiculous comparisons

I feel sorry for the occasional David Sedaris fan who ran out to buy this book just because he said so, and then felt the authority in him/herself to say the book lacked depth and humor. First of all, while David Sedaris writes great, FUNNY books, he is writing in an entirely different league that does not even begin to compare what Moore accomplishes with her writing. So Lorrie Moore's sense of humor is not as instantly gratifying as Sedaris's - she doesn't write centered around mere punchlines. Instead, she creates characters that are multi layered and breathing with life, sometimes over the course of only a few pages or even paragraphs, and even the comical moments therein are often subtle and melancholic. The moments she describes are so brilliantly captured and the confusion of characters so charming and relatable, so human and at once heartbreaking - I never know whether to respond in laughter, or tears. This book is honestly one of my most cherished treasures.

A collection of stories worth reading over and over

Lorrie Moore's BIRDS OF AMERICA is a rarity: a story collection that arrives on the literary scene with such power that people still talk about it years after its original publication.What's so special about Moore? For one, she writes with an unusual mix of wry humor and deeply-rooted emotion. Because the surface of her stories shimmer with laughs, the true meaning of the story can sneak up on readers, and when it hits, it does so with pure force. Her language is exact and unadorned, leading the reader precisely where Moore intends. Her ability to nail cultural and personal detail is extraordinary.The most famous, and arguably the most successful, story is "People Like That Are The Only People Here," the moving yet at times absurdist tale of a mother coping with the grave illness of her baby. At first, Moore seems almost coy with her character names - the Mother, the Baby, the Husband, the Surgeon - but they serve to mute the roiling fear running underneath in true Moore fashion until it can no longer be contained. Not a single story in this collection fails, but some rise above others: "Which is More Than I Can Say About Some People", "Charades," "Agnes of Iowa," and "Terrific Mother." Some of these stories will have you doubled over with laughter; others will make your heart ache. Most will do both.I highly recommend this book, even to people who don't normally read short stories. If you have already read it, read it again. You'll be surprised by how much surfaces the second time around.

Stories about women who compromise with men are best

The best stories here are about talented, witty, sarcastic people (women mostly) who, lacking any hope or confidence, compromise their integrity to be in relationships with cliche-ridden mediocrities, bores, sociopaths, cheaters, phony ideologues, and other loathsome creatures. The result is a collection of stories that is both comic and sad. These characters seem rather nihilistic in their lack of free-will and the abyss of despair and acedia that they've succumbed to. Lorrie Moore is at the top of the literary food chain when it comes to writing these kind of short stories. There are imitators who try to be cool with their nihilistic, cynical stories, but Lorrie Moore is the genuine article.


I'm pretty surprised by the number of negative reviews Moore's work has received. Many readers have complained that the stories are about tiny people with tiny, unimportant lives. Well, that's the whole point! Moore is without a doubt the best chronicler of tiny people with tiny, unimportant lives. She knows - which many of us do not - that we all have tiny, unimportant lives. But, like her characters, those lives are filled with regret, longing, heartache, joy, laughter, wit and irony. And of course that makes them anything but unimportant. Every story she writes makes me laugh out loud at least once. Every story she writes makes me cry just a little. Every story she writes somehow pinpoints some tiny emotion or thought or feeling I never knew I had. Her sheer empathy is astounding.It may seem like I'm gushing, but I've been reading her short fiction for over a decade now and there is no one writing today whom I enjoy more. Granted, a story like "People Like That Are The Only People Here" can be unwieldy for someone not accustomed to short stories. Probably the best introduction to Moore can be found in "You're Ugly, Too," which is in Like Life, the Best American Short Stories of 1990 and the Updike-edited Best American Short Stories of the Century. But a story like "Charades" - in Birds of America - is easily accessible and is vintage Moore. It's sad, hysterically funny and all-too familiar. There are many like it in this collection, including "Whatever You Want Fine" and "Willing" and "That's More Than I Can Say About Some People." One reviewer complained that the stories were over as soon as you started to get into the characters and that at the end they didn't live on, they were just dark type on a white page. That is untrue. Lorrie Moore's characters live on everywhere. They're in your office. They're at the grocery store and the bank and the dry cleaners. They are us.

Incredible -- Please read it!

This is the most stunning short fiction I've ever read. I've been a Lorrie Moore fan for a long time, but she exceeded my expectations with this breathtaking collection. Anyone who loves short stories, or any sort of fiction needs to read this. She is a master at the form, and can make you laugh and break your heart in the same sentence.

Birds of America: Stories Mentions in Our Blog

Birds of America: Stories in Ode to Spring: 10 Books to Celebrate the Season of Renewal
Ode to Spring: 10 Books to Celebrate the Season of Renewal
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • March 20, 2020

Happy Spring! This is a time of renewal and rebirth, infusing us with hope in the form of burgeoning buds and fragrant breezes. Light lingers and birdsong fills our ears. Despite all else, the earth pulses with life and resilience. Here are ten books that celebrate the season.

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