Sunday, May 4, 2008

New Yorker Podcasts-Lorrie Moore

One of the joys of podcasts is the availability of good literature for listening, from books to short stories that sample the writing skills of numerous authors.  The New Yorker has a free  monthly Fiction Podcast, easy to subscribe to under "free" podcasts.  A recent short story, read and discussed by Louise Erdrich, was Dance in America by Lorrie Moore. Moore is a contemporary midwestern writer whose work Erdrich enjoys and respects. Erdrich became taken with Moore's writing after reading her novel Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? and quickly became aware of Moore's short story repertoire as well.  Dance in America, published in Birds of America: Stories by Lorrie Moore, tells of a dance teacher who moves to Philadelphia to teach children's dance classes. She encounters an old friend there, whose son is terminally ill and her relationship with the child and the way the family converses and copes informs her  characters. The sometimes absurd conversations within the family as a way of coping, are surprising.  The story reveals Moore's  humor, kindness and her depth as well as her sense of the absurd. Not to be dismissed as "chick lit" her writing is often about contemporary woman's issues with sharp observations noted, yet kindness and humor characterize her dealings with absurd or contradictory characters.  She writes with economy, quickly getting to the heart of her story, sometimes omitting preliminaries, yet every detail works toward the end of the story.  I'm delighted to anticipate  reading more works by this  thoughtful, humorous, highly observant writer who is cast as a "true original" by Erdrich. 

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