Sunday, October 28, 2007

Lorrie Moore, from the short stories of

"... her husband had said, in the circuitous syntax and ponderous Louisiana drawl that, like so much else about him, had once made her misty with desire and now drove her nuts with scorn."
("Real Estate," Birds of America)

"She glared at him and tried not to cry. She hadn't loved him enough and he had sensed it. She hadn't really loved him at all, not really. But she had liked him a lot! So it still seemed unfair. A bone in her opened up, gleaming and pale, and she held it to the light and spoke from it:
"I want to know one thing." She paused, not really for effect, but it had one. "Did you have oral sex?"
("Willing," Like Life)

"It is like having a book out from the library.
it is like constantly having a book out from the library."
("How to be an other Woman," Self Help)

"Sidra. This is not right! You need to go out with someone really smart for a change."
"I've been out with smart. I've been out with someone who had two Ph.D's. We spent all of our time in bed with the light on, proofreading his vita." She sighed. "Every little thing he'd ever done, every little, little, little. I mean, have you ever seen a vita?"
("Willing," Like Life)

"That had been in Agnes's mishmash decade, after college. She had lived improvisationally then, getting this job or that, in restaurants or offices, taking a class or two, not thinking too far ahead, negotiating the precariousness and subway flus and scrimping for an occasional manicure or a play. Such a life required much exaggerated self-esteem. It engaged gross quantitities of hope and despair and set them wildly side by side, like a Third World country of the heart. Her days grew messy with contradictions. When she went for walks, for her health, cinders would spot her cheecks and soot would settle in the furled leaf of each ear. Her shoes became unspeakable. Her blouses darkened in a breeze, and a blast of bus exhaust might linger in her hair for hours. Finally, her old asthma returned and, with a hacking , incressant cough, she gave up."
("Agnes of Iowa," Birds of America)

"The only expression she can get from Andrew is a derisive one. He is a traffic cop. She is the speeding flower child."
("Charades," Birds of America)

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