5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A solid, detailed collection, but perhaps a bit too late on the scene.,
This review is from: Bark: Stories (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Lorrie Moore's BARK lives up to its title: it's brief and to the point, with enough bite to make you dig in a little further. These are realistic characters in realistic situations--or, barring that, situations that somehow manage to resonate with your own experiences. From the haunted ex-husband in "Debarking," to the emotionally abandoned friend in "The Juniper Tree," these are characters you've met, and probably even seen in the mirror a time or two.
While the stories are well-written (Moore manages to be both "literary" and engaging, which is a rare treat), this collection feels about ten years overdue. The work is firmly rooted in the early double-oughts, and actually manages to encapsulate those times fairly well, at least as much as such a short work can. The problem is, so much has been written/filmed/created about that half-decade, in order for something to stand out so late in the game, it has to have an extra bit of punch, or an alternative viewpoint. BARK does not. It's a solid literary collection; and probably most people who get their hands on it will remember the G.W. Bush years (even those of you outside the U.S.). But does it have anything to say that you can't find elsewhere? Not really. This is, perhaps, the collection's only real failure: it tries to be something important, when there's actually no need for it to be. With that in mind, it's best just to ignore Moore's overall view, and enjoy the stories selectively. They are, after all, very fine examples of (almost) contemporary American short fiction.