Becca Reads


Lorrie Moore

Confession: I have never read Lorrie Moore. I know. Shameful. A friend even lent me Self-Help, eighteen months ago, and I can tell you exactly where it is: on the floor behind the laundry basket, where it landed when it fell off my dresser. Maybe seven months ago.

Realization: Lorrie Moore is indeed as fabulous as they say. Of course.

Source of realization:The Lorrie Moore story in this week's New Yorker.

And now I have to go all Jenny on you and quote madly, because this is just so unbelievably good.

First paragraph: Although Kit and Rafe had met in the peace movement, marching, organizing, making no-nukes signs, now they wanted to kill each other. They had become, also, a little pro-nuke. Married for two decades of precious, precious life, she and Rafe seemed currently to be partners only in anger and dislike, their old, lusty love mutated to rage. It was both their shame and demise that hate (like love) could not live on air. And so in this, their newly successful project together, they were complicitous and synergistic. They were nurturing, homeopathic, and enabling. They spawned and raised their hate together, cardiovascularly, spiritually, organically. In tandem, as a system, as a dance team of bad feeling, they had shoved their hate center stage and shone a spotlight down for it to seize. Do your stuff, baby! Who is the best? Whos the man?

A few paragraphs later: Of course, later she would understand that all this meant that he was involved with another woman, but at the time, protecting her own vanity and sanity, she was working with two hypotheses only: brain tumor or space alien.

And soon after that: Kit sighed again. “Yes, the toxic military-crafts business poisoning our living space. Do I fight? I don’t fight, I just, well, O.K.—I ask a few questions from time to time. I ask, ‘What the hell are you doing?’ I ask, ‘Are you trying to asphyxiate your entire family?’ I ask, ‘Did you hear me?’ Then I ask, ‘Did you hear me?’ again. Then I ask, ‘Are you deaf?’ I also ask, ‘What do you think a marriage is? I’m really just curious to know,’ and also, ‘Is this your idea of a well-ventilated place?’ A simple interview, really. I don’t believe in fighting. I believe in giving peace a chance. I also believe in internal bleeding.”

Incredible, no? But what are you doing still hanging out at this silly blog? Go read the story already. Me? I'm going to go rescue that copy of Self-Help.


  • Oh, my goodness. I read that and think, I do not know how to use the English language. At all.

    adding it to the list...

    By Anonymous Kelly, at 8:37 AM  

  • I heard her read some years ago and loved loved loved it. But even then, didn't go out and buy a book. OK, now I can at least read this one in the NYer, and put Self-Help back on the list.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:36 PM  

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