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Lorrie Moore Essay

1688 words - 7 pages

Lorrie Moore is the author of three novels, four short story collections, and one children’s’ book spanning from 1985 till 2009. In a profile about Moore, done right before the release of Who Will Run the Frog Hospital, Lee states, “Since 1984, Moore has been teaching at the University of Wisconsin, as an English professor, and wrote at her own pace” (“About Lorrie Moore: A Profile”). Moore acknowledged in the same article, “I’ve rarely felt any pressure to publish, and I really like writing what I want, at a pace that is the natural one” (Lee). When the novel A Gate at the Stairs came out there was a span of fifteen years since Moore’s last novel in 1994. The long span of time brought about a great deal of buzz from every review, however, while most critics speak greatly about Moore herself, there was not many harmonious thoughts about the book. The reviews changed tone from one praising about the book, to another asking if reading the 322-page novel was “even worth it” (Jones 53). Moore is a talented author; maybe someday she will produce a book worthy enough for the canon, but not this one.
Moore does not have an extensive collection of published writings, yet seems to have a good following. Her fiction works are considered young adult-adult books, as is A Gate at the Stairs, but started her published career writing “Self Help” (1985) at the age of twenty-six, “comprised almost entirely of stories from her master’s thesis” (“About Lorrie Moore: A Profile” Lee). Ron Charles, the writer of the Washington Post review, talks about the gap of time in Moore’s novels and makes a bold statement about her work and what others can now get from Moore. Charles notes, “… a whole generation of readers has grown up thinking of her only as one of the country’s best short-story writers. Get ready to expand your sense of what she—and a novel—can do” (“With Novel Twists”). In the New York Times review, Jonathan Lethem makes a bold statement, “I’m aware of one…reader who doesn’t care for Lorrie Moore, and even that one seems a little apologetic about it…Moore may be, exactly, the most irresistible contemporary American writer…Moore is capable of enlisting not just our sympathies but our sorrows” (“Eyes Wide Open”). The excitement with the release of this book was building among many people, however, for most it ended there.
The novels plot differs amongst reviews, making it a difficult task to find out what the book was actually about. In “Childhood’s End”, Jones notes, “The narrator is Tassie Keltjin, a Midwestern college student looking for baby-sitting work … Her voice…is a wonky mixture of farm-girl practicality, undergraduate sass, and reflexive honesty that will prove her best armor against the…secrecy, and downright lying that ultimately overturns her easy going view…” (53). Each review agrees on a couple points, which the book is about Tassie Keltjim, who by all accounts is a sweet inexperienced country girl who is trying to find her...

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