Sunday here in Los Angeles is bathed in an eerie light, from the sun struggling through the smoke from several wildfires burning nearby. For me, weird light makes for a weird mood, and I never quite know what to make of a day that is strangely lit. Perhaps I'll read...
I had some time to read the New York Times Book Review, and right on the front page was Jonathan Lethem's review of Lorrie Moore's new book, A Gate at the Stairs. I've been waiting for this book without even knowing it. I've loved Moore's writing since I read her first collection of short stories, Self-Help, some twenty years ago. I went on to read and also love Like Life and Birds of America. I'm not quite as big a fan of her novels as her short stories, but I hear this one is good. And though I knew she hadn't published anything in awhile (11 years--who knew?), once I heard that she had a new book coming out, I realized I couldn't wait to read it.
The review is good, good enough to make me want to order this book now, hardback price be damned. Lethem mentions that he only knows one person who doesn't like Moore's writing, calling it too "punny". And then he goes on to say, "As for the puns, they seem to me less an eagerness to entertain than a true writerly obsession. Moore is an equal-opportunity japester: heroes and villains both crack wise with Chandleresque vivacity, so you can't use cleverness as a moral index. The wrinkly recursiveness of her language seems lodged at the layer of consciousness itself, where Moore demands readers' attention to the innate thingliness of words. "
He also says, "On finishing A Gate at the Stairs I turned to the reader nearest to me and made her swear to read it immediately (well, the dog was between us, but she doesn't read much, and none of what I recommend). I might even urge it on my dissenting friend." That's a good enough recommendation for me!
Maybe I can convince my book group to read this one with me.