Book by LORRIE MOORE
Bark is Lorrie Moore’s first collection of stories in sixteen years, and it is a work to devour. While most of the eight stories have appeared elsewhere, including three in The Collected Stories of Lorrie Moore (2008), they feel fresh here. We see what Moore has been up to all these years. Moore’s humor and sensibility have evolved now that she and her characters have reached middle age.She still dazzles with word plays and turns meaning on end, but she makes fewer wisecracks, and the stories are sadder. In the past her awkward characters faced plenty of tragedy, but had a youth on their side. In this collection, she examines loss brought on by her familiar themes of divorce and death, but her characters are older, and struggle in a darker way.
That said, Moore knows how to have a good time, starting with her playful title. Three epigraphs from poets Caroline Squire, Louise Glück, and Amy Gerstler refer to bark. Squires writes about an apple tree, Glück and Gerstler about dogs. Moore works bark into the collection in joking and devastating ways, and not only for the reader. The characters are more devastated by their experiences in these stories than in her previous stories.