Collected here for the first time in one volume are 40 stories by the author originally published in Self-Help, Like Life, Birds of America, and Bark as well as three additional stories excerpted from her novels and an introduction by Lauren Groff
For those who are not new to the droll delights of Moore, this small, fat book with its slender gold ribbon bookmark...will be a treasure ... If you are new to Moore, it might be better to start with one of the original collections, as reading the stories for the first time in this setting blurs them a bit ... The effect recalls what they say about your dreams: Every character is actually you. In fact, Moore’s use of language is so exuberant and adroit that while I was reading this book, it seemed to me that other writers were either very lazy or not quite fluent in English ... Sharp insight into every kind of trouble—marital, medical, musical, veterinary—comes cloaked in irony, bedecked with wordplay, aphorisms sparkling. Like a nurse distracting you as she slips the needle into your flesh, Moore makes you forget for a moment the serious problem that occasions your meeting ... You’ll laugh, sure, but you’ll also feel profoundly understood.
Perhaps the best reason to pick up a Collected Stories is practical: Economy size! Four for the price of one! This volume, with Everyman’s Library’s signature cramped typesetting and small trim size, is dense as a study Bible. It contains all of Moore’s collections in their entirety plus one excerpt apiece from her three novels, though if you want to know what’s what you’ll have to consult the back matter, because the stories are presented neither chronologically nor by original collection, but alphabetically by title. This is, on first appraisal, a baffling choice ... But Moore is quick to remind us—in a brief and maybe just slightly tetchy author’s note—that all her books are still in print, so if the 'obvious, sequential order' is what you want, you can still have it ... alphabetization yields unexpected juxtapositions, revealing obsessions and tendencies not just within a given book but from book to book and from era to era ... Of this marvelous and slightly forbidding monument to a life’s monumental work, all I really want to say is that we are lucky to have it, in this edition or any other. And insofar as museums are not mausoleums, here’s looking forward to volume two.
Forty superb short stories ... Moore is a short story superstar, a wily wordsmith, an extraordinary empath. In a few short pages—sometimes in just a few words—she is able to evoke essentially everything about the characters she conjures ... Moore’s characters exist in a tremulous zone between hope and despair, boredom and excitement, fear and bravery, connection and detachment, belonging and displacement. And while the humans who populate Moore’s stories...differ in age, life stage, gender, sexual orientation, location, and situation, all share a familiar humanity apt to resonate with readers. Moore’s stories have a way of burrowing into the head and the heart and taking up residence there, reverberating like a startled laugh or a stifled sob. This expansive, exquisite collection cements Moore’s standing as one of the greatest short story writers of our time.