The Collected Stories

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 July, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 05 July, 2009, 12:00am

The Collected Stories

by Lorrie Moore

Faber and Faber


Lorrie Moore is an American short-story writer best known for the award-winning Birds of America. Those 12 stories comprise a fraction of the ones included here. The stories are arranged in reverse order. We begin with Foes, set on the eve of last year's US presidential election, then rewind to Moore's beginnings - Self-Help, published in 1985. In some ways, a 'collected' Moore feels premature. Although she has not been prolific lately, Moore is still working: there are four new stories here. In all the ways that matter, however, The Collected Stories is splendid: a chance to review past glories and review present ones. Foes - dubbed the first example of Obama-lit - casts a wry, slightly teary eye over the 'parasitic mixings of art and commerce, literature and the rich'. A lowly biographer, Baker 'Bake' McKurty, attends a political fund-raiser armed only with his self-deprecating sarcasm and his wife, Suzy. Paper Losses also mixes love and politics, not least in its opening line: 'Although Kit and Rafe had met in the peace movement, marching, organising, making no-nuke signs, now they wanted to kill each other.' Let's hope there's more 'Collected' Moore before long.