This expansive, exquisite collection cements Moore’s standing as one of the greatest short story writers of our time.

COLLECTED STORIES

Forty superb stories by one of America’s most beloved (and best) fiction writers.

Moore is a short story superstar, a wily wordsmith, an extraordinary empath. In a few short pages—sometimes in just a few words—she is able to evoke essentially everything about the characters she conjures: the early disappointments that have shaped them, the hunger for connection that propels them, the quippy wordplay that protects them, the ways they hold themselves back or get in their own ways. That makes this vast yet intimate collection of 40 stories drawn from Moore’s decades of exceptional work—many originally published in her collections Self Help (1985), Like Life (1990), Birds of America (1998), and Bark (2014) and others extracted from her novels—something to savor, whether you are rereading old favorites or enjoying Moore’s deeply affecting blend of humor and heartache for the first time. In stories such as “The Jewish Hunter,” about a New York poet visiting the Midwest who finds and then leaves a man she might have loved; “Four Calling Birds, Three French Hens,” about a woman whose grief for her cat separates her from and then returns her to her family; and “Two Boys,” about a woman who craves the attention of an inconstant man more than the man who’s true, among others, Moore’s characters exist in a tremulous zone between hope and despair, boredom and excitement, fear and bravery, connection and detachment, belonging and displacement. And while the humans who populate Moore’s stories—presented in alphabetical (by title) rather than chronological order, “like a playlist set to shuffle,” the author writes—differ in age, life stage, gender, sexual orientation, location, and situation, all share a familiar humanity apt to resonate with readers. Moore’s stories have a way of burrowing into the head and the heart and taking up residence there, reverberating like a startled laugh or a stifled sob.

This expansive, exquisite collection cements Moore’s standing as one of the greatest short story writers of our time.

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-375-71238-8

Page Count: 776

Publisher: Everyman’s Library

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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Wingate sheds light on a shameful true story of child exploitation but is less successful in engaging readers in her...

BEFORE WE WERE YOURS

Avery Stafford, a lawyer, descendant of two prominent Southern families and daughter of a distinguished senator, discovers a family secret that alters her perspective on heritage.

Wingate (Sisters, 2016, etc.) shifts the story in her latest novel between present and past as Avery uncovers evidence that her Grandma Judy was a victim of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society and is related to a woman Avery and her father meet when he visits a nursing home. Although Avery is living at home to help her parents through her father’s cancer treatment, she is also being groomed for her own political career. Readers learn that investigating her family’s past is not part of Avery's scripted existence, but Wingate's attempts to make her seem torn about this are never fully developed, and descriptions of her chemistry with a man she meets as she's searching are also unconvincing. Sections describing the real-life orphanage director Georgia Tann, who stole poor children, mistreated them, and placed them for adoption with wealthy clients—including Joan Crawford and June Allyson—are more vivid, as are passages about Grandma Judy and her siblings. Wingate’s fans and readers who enjoy family dramas will find enough to entertain them, and book clubs may enjoy dissecting the relationship and historical issues in the book.

Wingate sheds light on a shameful true story of child exploitation but is less successful in engaging readers in her fictional characters' lives.

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-425-28468-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: March 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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This book sings with the terrible silence of dead civilizations in which once there was valor.

THINGS FALL APART

Written with quiet dignity that builds to a climax of tragic force, this book about the dissolution of an African tribe, its traditions, and values, represents a welcome departure from the familiar "Me, white brother" genre.

Written by a Nigerian African trained in missionary schools, this novel tells quietly the story of a brave man, Okonkwo, whose life has absolute validity in terms of his culture, and who exercises his prerogative as a warrior, father, and husband with unflinching single mindedness. But into the complex Nigerian village filters the teachings of strangers, teachings so alien to the tribe, that resistance is impossible. One must distinguish a force to be able to oppose it, and to most, the talk of Christian salvation is no more than the babbling of incoherent children. Still, with his guns and persistence, the white man, amoeba-like, gradually absorbs the native culture and in despair, Okonkwo, unable to withstand the corrosion of what he, alone, understands to be the life force of his people, hangs himself. In the formlessness of the dying culture, it is the missionary who takes note of the event, reminding himself to give Okonkwo's gesture a line or two in his work, The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger.

This book sings with the terrible silence of dead civilizations in which once there was valor.

Pub Date: Jan. 23, 1958

ISBN: 0385474547

Page Count: 207

Publisher: McDowell, Obolensky

Review Posted Online: April 23, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1958

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