Birds of America

One Moore Voice: The Maturing Voice of Lorrie Moore's Characters in Birds of America

From the satirical, biting wit of a "been there, done that," college co-ed to the death-defeating witticisms of a middle-aged mother, the monologic voice in Lorrie Moore's fiction hasn't changed as much as it has matured in the years separating her first book, Self-Help, and her latest, Birds of America. Whether the speaking character is a twenty-something woman diagnosed with cancer, contemplating methods of suicide; a thirtyish woman dissatisfied with her less-than-stellar love life, contemplating an equally boring affair; or a middle-aged mother dealing with the crisis of chemotherapy for her cancer-stricken infant, the voice of Moore's fiction remains the same - desperately funny, painfully honest, hilariously outspoken, and unbelievably sad, all at the same time. True, that solitary voice has changed over the years; the funny, young, second-person "know-it-all" style of address found in Self-Help has matured into a more honest, direct approach that pulls no punches where life, death, and the need to laugh are concerned. The age of Moore's characters have kept pace with the author's own maturation process - "a writer writes from experience" - as Moore says (Garner 48). The...

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