Lorrie Moore is such an accomplished writer and her new collection of short stories, Bark, has received such positive reviews—reviews with which I concur and which I cannot elevate—I thought I would simply lift sentences from the book in an attempt to convey Moore's brilliance and engage your interest.
"Ira had been divorced six months and still couldn't get his wedding ring off. His finger had swelled doughily around it—a combination of frustrated desire, unmitigated remorse, and misdirected ambition, he said to friends. 'I'm going to have to have my entire finger surgically removed.'" —The first sentences of the first story, Debarking
"Every woman I knew here drank—daily. In rejecting the lives of our mothers, we found ourselves looking for stray volts of mother love in the very places they could never be found: gin, men, the college, our own mothers, and one another. I was the only one of my friends—all of us academic transplants, all soldiers of art stationed on a far-off base (or, so we imagined it)—who hadn't had something terrible happen to her yet." —A random sentence from The Juniper Tree
"Although Kit and Rafe had met in the peace movement, marching, organizing, making no nukes signs, now they wanted to kill each other. They had become, also, a little pro-nuke. Married for two decades of precious, precious life, she and Rafe seemed currently to be partners only in anger and dislike, their old lusty love mutated to rage." —Paper Losses
"He saw now that her fingernails really were plastic, that the hand really was a dry frozen claw, that the face that had seemed intriguingly exotic had actually been scarred by fire and only partially repaired. He saw how she was cloaked in a courageous and intense hideosity. The hair was beautiful, but now he imagined it was probably a wig. Pity poured through him: he'd never never felt so sorry for someone." —Foes
"Then as something caught fire between them, and love secured its footing inside her. when she awoke next to him with damp knots in the back of her hair like she'd never experienced before, the room full of the previous night's candles and the whiff of weed, his skin beside her as silky calico of cool and warm, and as they both needed to eat and eat some more together, she began to feel OK that he sold drugs. If he did. What the hell? At least there was that. At least he did something." —Wings
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is quoted on the jacket: "Moore cannot write a bad sentence, cannot create poor characters, cannot tell flat ho-hum stories. When she's good, she's very, very good; when she's bad, she's good." I agree and wish only that I could do the same.