an a gram n gr m 1 A word or phrase formed by reordering the letters of another word or phrase, such as satin to stain.However, here in her first novel, short story writer Lorrie Moore born 1957 , reordered not letters but the different scenes in order for her reader to choose the one that he or she likes best I have seen this approached in a couple of movies but my first time for a novel Moore s contemporary and humorous prose makes this approach not only crisp in its freshness but also memorable because of her believable characters.There are only 3 main characters the 32 y o Benna Carpenter who is a poet, a teacher, a nightclub singer or an aerobics instructor depending on the version of the story that you are reading and or prefer to take away as your favorite version of the story Then there is Benna s friend 31 y o Eleanor who is either imaginary or real, again depending on which version you want to choose Lastly, Benna s love interest, 30 y o Gerard Maines who is the single or divorced guy who lives next to Benna s apartment with only a thin wall separating their rooms In fact, Gerard could hear Benna s toilet bowl when she is flushing it Here in the Philippines, we have a term for this dingding lang ang pagitan separated only by a wall that actually came from a semi erotic ST sex trip movie in the 80 s.But Anagrams is not an erotic story It is a bittersweet love story about people in love and falling out of love Reading it is like watching a romance comedy movie set in an American city with characters in their last chances to find life long partners I would have given it five stars if I read this maybe a couple of decades ago However, I was still mesmerized by Moore s innovative approach even if at times the frequent shifts from 1st person to 3rd person and vice versa confused me However, her imagination on the different versions is something that is commendable since all of them are not only plausible but also funny, playful and poignant that makes it hard for you to choose which version you want to remember for the rest of your life.Also, unlike some of the novels of Haruki Murakami, who was also first known to be as a short story writer, Anagrams does not give me you that feeling that you are reading short stories merged into a big story just to make up a novel Regardless of which version you choose or you want to believe in, everything is still coherent and integrated If you enjoy stories about single people looking for partners in their late 20 s of early 30 s, try reading this book It is a joy to read and you will surely see yourself in one of the versions of the three characters.I am now looking forward to Moore books. Amazing Books, Anagrams By Lorrie Moore This Is Very Good And Becomes The Main Topic To Read, The Readers Are Very Takjup And Always Take Inspiration From The Contents Of The Book Anagrams, Essay By Lorrie Moore Is Now On Our Website And You Can Download It By Register What Are You Waiting For Please Read And Make A Refission For You Wanted More from MooreLorrie Moore s short first novel feels like an amusing, extended exercise a gimmick rather than a full novel Like letters in an anagram, Moore switches characters, professions and relationships In the first section, for instance, Benna is a lounge singer and Gerard teaches aerobics to children In the second, Benna teaches aerobics to seniors, while Gerard is working on a rock version of a Baroque opera In another, Gerard is a lounge singer who wants to become an opera singer, while Benna teaches at a community college Get it Their relationship also changes they re alternately lovers, FWBs, friends who used to date A character named Eleanor also pops up in various incarnations, usually as Benna s friend And themes like illness and infidelity are thrown into the mix.In the long, novella length final section, Moore frequently switches point of view, sometimes Benna s first person POV, sometimes third I imagine she s trying to do something profound with this and all the scrambling of themes and characters, but it s unclear, and at one point I gave up caring The author s mordant wit and use of wordplay are on full display here On every page there s a fun pun or two.But the result is like eating candy At first it s a riot Yay Candy for breakfast Candy for lunch , but soon the sugar high wears off and you realize you won t get very far without something substantial in your stomach.I ve now read all of Moore s longer works She s a much better short story writer than novelist I m going to go back and finish her collections Self Help and Birds Of America then report back Some stories from Birds are among my all time favourites.In the meantime, no literary candy at least for a while This is a 2.5 than a 2, but Moore can do so much better. Today I thought I d lost my copy of Anagrams and a little voice asked me if that would be so bad a thing to happen As I said in my update, I was getting the idea that Moore is less Er, is that still funny Sorry Lorrie I am the swine before which you cast your pearl Oink.Anagram List your novel really though quite Christmas and smirky monotonously please so aggravating make mine a Harvey Wallbanger is an anagram of I thought your novel was monotonously smirky and quite aggravating but I love some of your stories so please don t cross me off your Christmas card list. Margaret Atwood has a great short story called Happy Endings that I kept thinking about as I read this book Read it here and then continue with the review Did you read it Seriously guys, it ll take you like two minutes I ll wait Okay, good So I don t know which came first, Happy Endings or Anagrams, but I feel almost sure that one of them had to influence the other Anagrams is about two people, Benna and Gerard, who are in love sort of When we first meet them, they are living in adjacent apartments which they essentially share Benna is a nightclub singer, Gerard works with preschoolers We see them interact, talking about their lives and generally being messed up people, and then a new chapter starts In this one, Gerard is a singer and Benna teaches dance to senior citizens They talk about their lives and are generally messed up people, and then a new chapter starts The details of Benna and Gerard s lives change, but the central story stays the same two lonely, unhappy people are trying to figure out their lives and each other, and not doing a very good job at it I make it sound depressing, but it s surprisingly not Lorrie Moore s characters are smart and witty and sprinkle their conversation with literary puns and play on words that are actually entertaining, unlike the work of some pun loving authors I could name but won t Did you guess Jasper Fforde Jasper Fforde was the author I was talking about It s Jasper FForde and she writes with that delightfully bitter, dry, funny voice I m so fond of One in Modern Dance class in college one sunny September afternoon we had been requested to be leaves tumbling ourselves across the arts quad I knew how to perform it in a way that prevented embarrassment and indignity One became a dead leaf, a cement leaf One lay down on the dying grass and refused to blow and float and tumble One merely crumpled One was no fool One did not listen to the teacher One did not want to be spotted fluttering around on campus, like the others who were clearly psychotics One did not like this college One wanted only to fall in love and get a Marriage Equivalent One just lay there Sometimes it s hard to figure out exactly what s going on in the book especially in the beginning, when I didn t know about the shifting details thing and sometimes it s depressing and sometimes it s sort of hard to keep going, but I didn t care because the whole book is full of little spots of brilliance like this I ve found that you can best entrap ants with the corpse of another ant A squashed one of their own in the middle of the floor, and boom, like stubborn Antigones, they rush out to bury their dead brother and get nabbed and that made it all worth it. An extremely well written, provocative, witty, and thought provoking novel about the vagaries of modern life I couldn t write like this even in my dreams The fact that anyone can is a marvel to me.I am indebted to Stephanie for her insightful review of this book, without which I would not have known about the magical prose of Lorrie Moore I will certainly read of her work in the near future Here she paints a complex, layered picture of the real and not so real aspects of three lives In so doing, she takes the reader on a true voyage of the mind that is irresistible, and alternately hilarious and frightening To read it is to learn while feeling.I wish I could rate it 4 1 2 stars I withheld the 5th star only because I found some of the darker passages quite disturbing, and some may wish to avoid a book that puts a little too much perspective on modern life On the other hand, these reactions were likely just what the author had in mind when she was writing Overall, very highly recommended for those who love the great writers, and can handle the bumpy ride. Firstly, I am biased not only because I love Lorrie Moore but also because my first name is an anagram I am named after my Grandmother, whose name was Edna This book is strange without being alienating, and while I was nervous that the anagramming of characters would annoy me, I actually got into the rearranging of facts and desires that Moore plays with it reminded me very much of the process of writing, of those moments when your character can do this or this or this, and you have to make a decision, effectively leaving other fictional lives behind Here, Moore has given her characters a variety of existences and situations, calling into question the idea of authenticity and truth in fiction writing I found myself favoring one version of a character over another, and I would have to stop and ask myself why this was I also loved the rearranging of images throughout the way, for instance, Moore used bathmat as a metaphor in a number of different ways.With all these ideas strolling through the book, Moore was smart enough to also give us great humor and beautiful prose, making the reading experience a joy Lorrie Moore is one of my favorite writers because she is so damn funny and her cleverness and ability to turn a phrase feels effortless I am in love with her puns, her similes, her whimsy, her bitterness My complaint with the novel is that the one storyline that got the most pages didn t interest me as much as some of the others, and although this section s shifting third to first person point of view felt meaningful at the end, it was otherwise jarring and overly cutesy for me Also, because of the nature of the book, if I went too long not reading it, I had a difficult time coming back to the characters and feeling invested in them.And now I will rewrite one passage that made me laugh out loud in the bathtub There are other ones, but you will have to read the book the find them The problem with a beautiful woman is that she makes everyone around her feel hopelessly masculine, which if you re already male to begin with poses no particular problem But if you re anyone else, your whole sexual identity gets dragged into the principal s office So what s this I hear about you prancing around, masquerading as a woman You are answerless You are sitting on your hands You are praying for your breasts to grow, your hair to perk up 48. Thirteen years ago, the dean of my law school gave a speech on our orientation day about how what good lawyers do is to turn the crystal on the law look at it from different angles, bend the light a little differently and see how a whole new world of ideas can open up just by virtue of a different perspective I often thought of that long ago lecture while reading this book, as I watched Moore turn the crystal on three people and how their lives intertwine under different sets of circumstances.This slender volume could accurately be described as a set of linked stories than a novel Each chapter puts Benna, Gerard and Eleanor together in different iterations and looks at how their lives would shake out as small, or sometimes large, things about their histories are changed It s an intriguing conceit for a set of stories a literary, personal scale version of the science fictional alternate universe trope Most of the stories are told from Benna s point of view, and it s Benna who is struggling to connect to Gerard, to Eleanor, or to herself Moore has a gentle, self deprecating style littered with jokes and puns and nuggets of wisdom that often felt like she was peering into my life and my heart and saying, You are not alone in this I think Moore understands longing, loneliness and loss better than any other contemporary writer I ve read That alone is worth a five star rating from me.A few favorite passages Pg 4 But what do I know She smiled and shrugged I grew up in a trailer It s not like a real family with a house This was her excuse for everything, her own self deprecating refrain she d grown up in a trailer in upstate New York and was therefore unqualified to pronounce on any of the subjects she continued to pronounce on Pg 10 This is why I was pleased The lump was not simply a focal point for my self pity it was also a battery propelling me, strengthening me my very own appointment with death It anchored and deepened me like a secret I started to feel it when I walked, just out from my armpit hard, achy evidence that I was truly a knotted saint, a bleeding angel At last it had been confirmed My life was really as difficult as I had always suspected.Pg 16 Basically, I realized I was living in that awful stage of life between twenty six to thirty seven known as stupidity It s when you don t know anything, not even as much as you did when you were younger, and you don t even have a philosophy about all the things you don t know, the way you did when you were twenty or would again when you were thirty eight.Pg 39 But I believed in starting over There was finally, I knew, only rupture and hurt and falling short between all persons, but, Shirley, the best revenge was to turn your life into a small gathering of miracles.If I could not be anchored and profound, I would try, at least, to be kind.Pg 109 People talk past us, we are invisible when they say our name, if they really look at us, they don t mean it, they only want us to say anything, anything stupid, but our dark woman s voice, we know, would terrify. life is sad here is someone Don t let this book fool you You might pick it up and be hud by intellectual puns and clever turns of phrase before you realize you are reading what appears to be the highly conventional story of a woman in an unfortunate relationship Like Todd Solondz s film Storytelling this novel plays with notions of fact and fiction It isn t as simple as having a reliable or unreliable narrator, it s that everything said can mean something else, and perhaps even people are imperfectly rearranged anagrams of each other, leaving a letter out here and there, a fact twisted this way or that Lorrie Moore is not only a brilliant writer but also someone with great insight to the psychological tricks and and mishaps that make us crazy, lonely and ill informed as to what ever really happened life is sad here is something to make the sadness pretty. I struggled with this book a lot The beginning was good but then around the middle it got really confusing to me What was real, what wasn t I m still confused, actually, about when Gerard was her teaching assistant I don t know But, in the end it really all paid off for me At first I gave it 3 stars, then it crept up to 4, and now I m putting it at 5 because it just keeps growing in my mind, even several days later I do think the beginning and middle parts function better as short stories, but the end section is really worth the confusion you feel trying to connect the beginning.Also, I really love reading things that play with language.
Lorrie Moore was born in Glens Falls, New York in 1957 She attended St Lawrence University in Canton, New York, where she tutored on an Indian reservation, and was editor of the university literary magazine and, at age 19, won Seventeen Magazine s Fiction Contest After graduating summa cum laude, she worked in New York for two years before going on to received a Masters in Fine Arts from
- 228 pages
- Lorrie Moore
- 16 August 2018 Lorrie Moore