Bark: Stories

Bark: Stories

4.4 17
by Lorrie Moore

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A new collection of stories by one of America's most beloved and admired short-story writers, her first in fifteen years, since Birds of America ("Fluid, cracked, mordant, colloquial . . . Will stand by itself as one of our funniest, most telling anatomies of human love and vulnerability." --The New York Times Book Review, cover).
These eight masterly stories…  See more details below


A new collection of stories by one of America's most beloved and admired short-story writers, her first in fifteen years, since Birds of America ("Fluid, cracked, mordant, colloquial . . . Will stand by itself as one of our funniest, most telling anatomies of human love and vulnerability." --The New York Times Book Review, cover).
These eight masterly stories reveal Lorrie Moore at her most mature and in a perfect configuration of craft, mind, and bewitched spirit, as she explores the passage of time and summons up its inevitable sorrows and hilarious pitfalls to reveal her own exquisite, singular wisdom.

In "Debarking," a newly divorced man tries to keep his wits about him as the United States prepares to invade Iraq, and against this ominous moment, we see--in all its irresistible wit and darkness--the perils of divorce and what can follow in its wake . . .

In "Foes," a political argument goes grotesquely awry as the events of 9/11 unexpectedly manifest themselves at a fund-raising dinner in Georgetown . . . In "The Juniper Tree," a teacher visited by the ghost of her recently deceased friend is forced to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" in a kind of nightmare reunion . . . And in "Wings," we watch the inevitable unraveling of two once-hopeful musicians, neither of whom held fast to their dreams nor struck out along other paths, as Moore deftly depicts the intricacies of dead-ends-ville and the workings of regret . . .

Here are people beset, burdened, buoyed; protected by raising teenage children; dating after divorce; facing the serious illness of a longtime friend; setting forth on a romantic assignation abroad, having it interrupted mid-trip, and coming to understand the larger ramifications and the impossibility of the connection . . . stories that show people coping with large dislocation in their lives, with risking a new path to answer the desire to be in relation--to someone . . .

Gimlet-eyed social observation, the public and private absurdities of American life, dramatic irony, and enduring half-cracked love wend their way through each of these narratives in a heartrending mash-up of the tragic and the laugh-out-loud--the hallmark of life in Lorrie-Moore-land.

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Editorial Reviews

To assert that this book has been keenly anticipated is to understate: Bark: Stories is Lorrie Moore's first short story collection in fifteen years, the first since her 1998 New York Times bestseller Birds of America—and it doesn't disappoint. Like its predecessor, Moore's new tales introduces us to characters who reveal themselves almost against their will. Her techniques are multiple and devious; one critics describes her humor as "knotty, wry, and verbally tangled." This late February release is certain to become one of the most scrutinized and applauded short story gatherings of the year.

Product Details

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
Vintage Contemporaries Series
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Read an Excerpt

From "Thank You for Having Me"

The day following Michael Jackson’s death, I was constructing my own memorial for him. I played his videos on YouTube and sat in the kitchen at night, with the iPod light at the table’s center the only source of illumination. I listened to “Man in the Mirror” and “Ben,” my favorite, even if it was about a killer rat. I tried not to think about its being about a rat, as it was also the name of an old beau, who had e-mailed me from Istanbul upon hearing of Jackson’s death. Apparently there was no one in Turkey to talk about it with. “When I heard the news of MJackson’s death I thought of you,” the ex-beau had written, “and that sweet, loose-limbed dance you used to do to one of his up-tempo numbers.”
         I tried to think positively. “Well, at least Whitney Houston didn’t die,” I said to someone on the phone. Every minute that ticked by in life contained very little information, until suddenly it contained too much.
         “Mom, what are you doing?” asked my fifteen-year-old daughter, Nickie. “You look like a crazy lady sitting in the kitchen like this.”
         “I’m just listening to some music.”
         “But like this?”
         “I didn’t want to disturb you.”
         “You are so totally disturbing me,” she said.
         Nickie had lately announced a desire to have her own reality show so that the world could see what she had to put up with.
         I pulled out the earbuds. “What are you wearing tomorrow?”
         “Whatever. I mean, does it matter?”
         “Uh, no. Not really.” Nickie sauntered out of the room. Of course it did not matter what young people wore: they were already amazing looking, without really knowing it, which was also part of their beauty. I was going to be Nickie’s date at the wedding of Maria, her former babysitter, and Nickie was going to be mine. The person who needed to be careful what she wore was me.
It was a wedding in the country, a half-hour drive, and we arrived on time, but somehow we seemed the last ones there. Guests milled about semipurposefully. Maria, an attractive, restless Brazilian, was marrying a local farm boy, for the second time—a second farm boy on a second farm. The previous farm boy she had married, Ian, was present as well. He had been hired to play music, and as the guests floated by with their plastic cups of wine, Ian sat there playing a slow melancholic version of “I Want You Back.” Except he didn’t seem to want her back. He was smiling and nodding at everyone and seemed happy to be part of this send-off. He was the entertainment. He wore a T-shirt that read, thank you for having me. This seemed remarkably sanguine and useful as well as a little beautiful. I wondered how it was done. I myself had never done anything remotely similar. “Marriage is one long conversation,” wrote Robert Louis Stevenson. Of course, he died when he was forty-four, so he had no idea how long the conversation could really get to be.
         “I can’t believe you wore that,” Nickie whispered to me in her mauve eyelet sundress.
         “I know. It probably was a mistake.” I was wearing a synthetic leopard-print sheath: I admired camouflage. A leopard’s markings I’d imagined existed because a leopard’s habitat had once been alive with snakes, and blending in was required. Leopards were frightened of snakes and also of chimpanzees, who were in turn frightened of leopards—a standoff between predator and prey, since there was a confusion as to which was which: this was also a theme in the wilds of my closet. Perhaps I had watched too many nature documentaries.
         “Maybe you could get Ian some lemonade,” I said to Nickie. I had already grabbed some wine from a passing black plastic tray.
         “Yes, maybe I could,” she said and loped across the yard. I watched her broad tan back and her confident gait. She was a gorgeous giantess. I was in awe to have such a daughter. Also in fear—as in fearful for my life.
         “It’s good you and Maria have stayed friends,” I said to Ian. Ian’s father, who had one of those embarrassing father-in-law crushes on his son’s departing wife, was not taking it so well. One could see him misty-eyed, treading the edge of the property with some iced gin, keeping his eye out for Maria, waiting for her to come out of the house, waiting for an opening, when she might be free of others, so he could rush up and embrace her.
         “Yes.” Ian smiled. Ian sighed. And for a fleeting moment everything felt completely fucked up.

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Bark: Stories 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She's such a good writer, and her use of humor is a bonus. She should always do short stories--she's a master! Loved the book. Will read it again.
Watnot More than 1 year ago
Ms. Moore's most recent collection of short stories leaves one wanting more Moore. The author's interesting points of views coupled with her unique rendering of how outside reality rolls across the conscious (and unconscious) mind are very enlightening. Her humor delights, and her ability to conjure contemporary points of reference are well done. This book definitely makes one want to read more of Moore (couldn't resist).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She's suppose to be like a Tigerstar so yes she's pretty bad. Hawkstar before her was worse though. And okay you're set to post at Horseclan (thank the Lord that's finally done! The best I got was two posts a day from Oak). ~ Lilywolf &hearts
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Plan has been commenced. Barkstorm told everyone how Lilywolf was defending Barkstorm, and how he left her with Oakpride. All I said was, "The last I saw her she was at HorseClan's border." Cats are already freaking out, a patrol has been formed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Reply to HauntingFang at res 2. We can pick a Clan together.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"I'm so sorry. I grew up outside of the Clans, but I am full LightClan. With my sisters Wind & Hawkflight/star, and my mother Wingshadow. I soon left to be on my own." ((I gtg. Bbt. Meet you here?
DaveyRJones More than 1 year ago
Moore, as usual, provides a hodge-podge of grand and clumsy works in her short story collection, Bark. Her themes seem to revolve around triangulated relationships: two divorcees and one of their children, two failed musicians and a bachelor benefactor, etc. Some of these tales--the first one especially--excel and depict Moore as a master of her craft. Others portray a stumbling writer without clear genius of her characters. For the first reason I know of Moore. For the second I love her. Bark is a fantastic and read-worthy collection.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bn, none of the posts below have anything to do with a review of the book. Cant these kids be tracked and banned from using the nook as a play room????
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yes you can you have to just fight it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lets go to vt
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im a member