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Like Life Paperback – September 3, 2002


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Like Life + Self-Help + Birds of America: Stories (Vintage Contemporaries)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (September 3, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375719164
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375719165
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #243,218 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Short stories chronicle the "like lives" (as opposed to love lives) of misfits whose romantic endeavors have gone awry. "Wondrously witty," said PW. "With gallows humor and unfailing understanding, Moore evokes her characters' quiet desperation and valiant searches for significance."
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Sharply rendered, the slightly wistful tone of these eight stories reflects their color: gray, yet less autumnal than springlike, with an attendant edge of hope coloring the best of them. "The Jewish Hunter" stands out as a portrait of possibilities: of love, of relationship, of selfhood. In fact, Moore dances around the edges of broken relationships with a delicacy that expresses both despair, acceptance, and a fledging resilience to try again. The title story and "Vissi d'Arte" are excellent examples of Moore's subtle insight. These are stories that bear rereading. Recommended.
- Linda L. Rome, Mentor, Ohio
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Lorrie Moore is the author of the story collections Like Life, Self-Help, and Birds of America, and the novels Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? and Anagrams. She is a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Customer Reviews

Lorrie Moore writes amazingly beautiful short stories!
Medb M. Sichko
It's definitely one of those great stories that you experience in your own life, and then go back and read again, and appreciate it all the better.
CD
I found some of it hard to follow and found myself re-reading pages, but that could have been me, not just the writer.
S. Hallstead

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
Moore received a lot of attention for her latest, "Birds of America" but I prefer this collection. It's not just that the book is funnier and deals with generally lighter subject matter, but that she is able to apply her poignant observations to more mundane material. Wheras Birds of America deals with children who have cancer and adults who are deep into what have become seriously disappointing lives, Like Life deals with those (mostly women) who are still treading water, not too happy with the way things have turned out so far, but also not so far gone that it all couldn't turn around tomorrow. The character in one story is grappling with her unsatisfying relationship with her struggling playwright boyfriend, another is just having a lonely winter where she spends her time working in a store in the mall and playing with the cat. Even the nature of her disappointments -- she is not allowed in to a community singing group because she misses the first meeting -- wonderfully reflect the low gear in which many of her characters, like real life people, are operating. If it sounds pretty dull, this is exactly why this book is such a showcase of Morre at her best. I think it is probably easier to write movingly about cancer than it is to write about daily life. But Moore's stories really are moving. A must read for anyone who aspires to write but worries he/she has nothing to say. Moore shows that every experience is a story -- its all in the telling.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By CD on November 26, 2002
Format: Paperback
This quote, from the title story of Lorrie Moore's ridiculously good collection, really seems to sum up her writing here. All of her stories are so unbelievably bizarre, at times, and yet, we know they're real. She writes about things we only thought existed in our heads--perceptions, comparisons, understandings of life that we could once insist were our own neuroses, yet apparently, Moore's had all the same ideas, and has put them to paper in some of the most intriguing and complex and, at times, subtly hilarious stories I've ever read.
"Like Life" is where you'll find her story, "You're Ugly, Too," which I found in a collection of stories dubbed the best since 1970, a Scribner anthology, and what sparked my interest in Moore. "You're Ugly, Too" is a brilliant piece, and definitely one of my favorites. I also loved "The Jewish Hunter," which I was reading during pre-cal one day, and started laughing like an idiot at various points. (Not good.) "Starving Again" is an incredible piece. In fact, I didn't quite think I got it 100% until I was sitting in a restaurant with someone one day, and they were going on and on, and all I could think about was our food coming to the table....Well, read the story, you'll see. It's definitely one of those great stories that you experience in your own life, and then go back and read again, and appreciate it all the better.
"Like Life" is an incredible collection, and I'm already on my second and third readings of these stories. It's hard to read them and not look at life differently after.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 22, 1997
Format: Paperback
Lorrie Moore, named one of Granta's "Best Young American Novelists" last year, is a poetic observer of ordinary life. In this her second collection of short stories, she presents us with a charming array of characters, each consumed by the pursuit of love and meaning in their lives. These stories are filled with people from all walks of life who don't really know what they want or how to get it, but they keep trying to find it anyway. From a working class woman who must choose between two equally undesirable boyfriends to a playwright who struggles to remain true to his art as his world collapses around him, these are people we can laugh with and feel sympathy for because they convey our simplest, most heartfelt desires. Lorrie Moore is a master storyteller, and this collection has much to offer the confused, yet optimistic, seekers among us
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Ryan on March 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
Lorrie Moore has an unmatched ability to mix verbal jokes and funny moments with tragic ones. She makes it look easy, but the craftmanship inherent in her work is quite complicated. She makes her readers feel her characters with their hearts and their minds. You'll laugh out loud and you feel lingering sadness.
My favorite story in the collection is "Places to Look for your Mind." I couldn't stop thinking about it, the characters were so real to me.
This whole book is a pleasure.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By William J. Thompson on January 18, 2010
Format: Paperback
I've decided at this, my fourth book by Lorrie Moore or so, that 1) she is one of my favorite short-story writers, and 2) that my official short review of her work overall is "bittersweet bad-ass."

She's just cynical, bitter, funny, and spot on the money. She catalogs the small joys and the strange, unfocused dissatisfactions of everyday life with a precision and a set of similies that suprise me constantly. I found "The Jewish Hunter" and "Like Life" particularly effective, but again, nothing she writes is less than pretty damn good.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Philip Huang on April 6, 2009
Format: Paperback
"How did one's . . . life lead one along so cruelly, like a trick, to the middle of the sea?" I came across the short "Two Boys" in a 1989 GQ magazine, and ever since then have cherished her stories. Yes, many of Moore's lead characters struggle, falter, find themselves in transition, and leading, as Thoreau quipped, lives of quiet desperation. In short, they are a lot like us. This sort of truth hurts, and you can see that hurt reflected in some of the reviews below. And yet. And yet, Moore leavens her writing with humor, wit, and a dollop of sympathy for those deserving of it. (For example, from the title story: "I don't have a love life, I have a like life.") The language is rich and smart and flavorful and accessible at the same time - and definitely, worth yours.
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