Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Short Story Wednesday "Debarking" from BARK by Lorrie Moore


I listened to this story via Hoopla through my library and it was read by the author. I really like listening to an author read her story because you are more sure of getting the meaning, I think. Another reader can make something sincere seem too sentimental for instance. Or too sarcastic. 

"Debarking" is a very ordinary story but written with such verve and terrific word choices that it made me appreciate a time when stories were easier to understand. Ira is recently divorced and sharing custody of a daughter. He meets a pediatric oncologist with an annoying son or is it her relationship with him that's annoying? Ira is the third wheel on most of their dates and he lands somewhere between thinking he loves her and thinking she is nuts. The invasion of Iraq forms the background for this story, which has everyone on edge. Kinda like now.  

Moore reads it so well that it felt like just the right way to experience her stories was to hear her read them aloud.

There are eight stories in this collection from a decade or so ago. I have read about three of them. Am always amazed at how insightful Moore is and in a clever way. 

Halfway in I am going to amend this a bit. Moore tends to read every story in the same voice I think print might suit these stories better.

Steve Lewis

Kevin Tipple 

Jerry House

George Kelley 


Casual Debris 



Margot Kinberg said...

I love the idea of the author being the one to do the reading, Patti. You're right that that's how you get the author's real intent.

Casual Debris said...

Good morning, Please include my entry for this week:


neer said...

Here's mine: Murderers Make Mistakes by Freeman Wills Crofts

Jeff Meyerson said...

I like Moore's stories too. My problem is, I read so many stories by so many different authors that it is really hard to keep track of what and when and who. But I keep careful records, so as long as it was in the last ten years I should be able to find it. For instance, I read BARK in 2014, so understandable that I don't remember the details, though this story is definitely familiar.

I'm almost done with the Charles Beaumont collection, which seems to contain quite a few posthumously published stories, which he may or may not have written. I have a couple of collections from the library and two more waiting to be picked up, with others on order.

After reading a very positive review a week or so ago, I got 95 year old Lore Segal's new (!) collection, LADIES' LUNCH, most of which stories were published in The New Yorker (so regular readers of that publication may have read them). It is a collection of linked stories about nonagenerians who have lunch together over 40 years.

TracyK said...

I bought a different book by Lorrie Moore at the book sale and look forward to reading those stories (BIRDS OF AMERICA). Then I will move on to other collections. "Debarking" sounds good.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Birds if probably her best. I agree Jeff, and I keep no records except a list of my computer since Covid. I do use Letterboxd for movies though.

Todd Mason said...

As others and I've noted before, here and elsewhere, Beaumont needed help to get stories written (and probably had a few written without too much input from him at all by the end), as his premature dementia took hold in the early/mid '60s...his latest published work probably tends to be from his fragments, but it'll take some serious research to tell.

Except when writing them up, I have no records of much of anything. Sorry her shortcomings as a reader of her work made themselves obvious, Patti...some writers just don't have vocal skill. (Some have said they prefer a drone in any sort of read-aloud material...even if I go blind, I doubt that will ever be true of me.)