Wednesday, September 11, 2013

how does one spell halloweiner

I finally got into Lorrie Moore's Birds of America, which I've had lying around for a while, and there's something very quaint about it. Lorrie probably won't like that, but there's no other word for someone in 2013 reading about what are essentially bored 1990s suburban adults whinging about their aging parents and career problems and affairs. All the women have difficult mothers, all the men are bumbling sitcom dads, and a not-insignificant amount of characters have jobs where they travel around teaching people things. I keep picturing every one of her characters as my parents.

What I'm getting at is this: there are a lot of obvious patterns and multi-story threads in Lorrie Moore's collection, and that's not bad, but I did catch myself thinking "what, this again?" when I encountered yet another awkward mother/daughter scenario. Of course, I'm sure people who read my collection had the same thoughts (something like "oh great ANOTHER isolated sad narrator"), but maybe in some way that familiarity works for short story collections. Maybe a collection of totally random stories with no connections between them is too jarring and thrown-together for readers to get into.

So, yeah. Thinking about things is good.

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