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Anagrams by Lorrie Moore
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Anagrams (original 1986; edition 2007)

by Lorrie Moore

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6511814,803 (4.01)28
Member:Cariola
Title:Anagrams
Authors:Lorrie Moore
Info:Vintage (2007), Paperback, 240 pages
Collections:Your library, General Fiction, Read but unowned
Rating:****1/2
Tags:Fiction, 20th century, American, given away

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Anagrams by Lorrie Moore (1986)

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Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
Innovative and clever, great title, but I really didn't like "The Nun of That," which took up most of the book's length. The imaginary daughter (and friend) and the pointlessness bothered me. ( )
  thatotter | Feb 4, 2014 |
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 more/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. ( )
  earthforms | Feb 2, 2014 |
I love Moore, but I think I made the mistake of reading 3 of her books in a row. These stories didn't hit me as hard as her other work. If I was to suggest Moore I'd direct people to Birds of America and Self Help.
1 vote Caitdub | Oct 24, 2013 |
Gerard lives across the hall from Benna, a nightclub singer, and secretly pines for her. He listens through the wall as lovers come and go, but when he finally tells her how he feels, she rebuffs him. But with the next story in "Anagrams", the plot changes. Benna now loves Gerard, a struggling musician. She spends her days teaching poetry, her nights listening to him play the piano. Through five short stories featuring the same characters in ever-changing roles, Lorrie Moore takes us through the ups and downs, the rise and fall of the relationship between Gerard and Benna.

The idea of alternate timelines in a single book is an interesting way to present a story, especially for something that doesn't fall into the sci-fi or fantasy genres. And that's what piqued my interest. I'd read another non-sci-fi book that presented alternate timelines titled "Aquamarine" by Carol Anshaw and was eager to try my hand with this one. Though I liked each of the tales, they did feel separate from one another, especially the final story -- The Nun of That -- the longest of the five. Nun reads like a fully fleshed out tale about a woman trying to make her life work in the aftermath of some life-altering event. It could easily stand on its own as a novelette without taking away from the other stories. And yet, the romantic connection that appeared in the first three stories vanished. There was no realization that Gerard was always the one for Benna or vice versa; I never felt any sort of connection between the two other than as friends.

Perhaps that was the trajectory of their relationship: not as lovers, but as friends.

Each of the stories presented a different perspective, venturing into the what if territory of the characters, and I enjoyed reading "Anagrams" in spite of what you may think from my quickie review. ( )
  ocgreg34 | Aug 12, 2013 |
The book is an anagram in itself. Moore explores narrative and changes the characters slightly in each section of the book causing them to become anagrams of themselves. The language is precise and the story is interesting, however, the sense of story becomes blurred when Moore changes around the realities of the characters. ( )
  eidzior | Apr 6, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
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Gerard Maines lived across the hall from a woman named Benna, who four minutes into any conversation always managed to say the word penis.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307277283, Paperback)

Gerard sits, fully clothed, in his empty bathtub and pines for Benna. Neighbors in the same apartment building, they share a wall and Gerard listens for the sound of her toilet flushing. Gerard loves Benna. And then Benna loves Gerard. She listens to him play piano, she teaches poetry and sings at nightclubs. As their relationships ebbs and flows, through reality and imagination, Lorrie Moore paints a captivating, innovative portrait of men and women in love and not in love. The first novel from a master of contemporary American fiction, Anagrams is a revelatory tale of love gained and lost.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:20:39 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Benna Carpenter is an art history professor who wears glass jewelry, sings in local nightclubs, chain-smokes, runs an aerobics class for the elderly, teaches poetry, and has an adorable and devoted six-year-old daughter. Yet Benna is disillusioned, cynical and bitter. With brilliant imagination and wit, this extraordinary novel explores Benna's world of misheard exit lines, love gained and lost truths almost told, and fragile and desperate hope.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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