Everyone gets excited when Lisa Moore releases a short story collection, mainly because she hasn’t in a while, and it’s the form she ‘broke out’ with. I’ve only read her novels thus far, but I love her writing, so I knew I would enjoy this newest group of stories titled Something for Everyone-I was not disappointed!
The title is a perfect one for a collection of stories, although I would argue not as applicable to this particular work. If we’re going to get literal, reading an anthology of short stories by different writers would most likely yield ‘something for everyone’, because Moore does have a particular (and admirable) style of writing in her stories. Each story is about a moment, or a series of moments in one person’s life. Setting and plot are secondary to the person or people that inhabit Moore’s worlds, which is the kind of writing I prefer. Even when a story is centered around a newsworthy moment from the recent past (the massacre at Pulse Nightclub in Florida for instance), the story focuses on the life of the people that morning, the mundate facts of what they ate for breakfast, what their schedule typically entailed on any given day, etc. The shooting itself is not described, rather, the reactions of the people close to it are.
Because I’m writing this in December (although lord knows it won’t be posted until much later!) I should also mention there’s a lovely Christmas story included. It begins with a young man about to commit a crime in order to save a family member, but instead, Santa Claus steps in to reverse time and prevent this trail of sadness from even beginning, all by helping an old woman fight an oral infection (again, so applicable to my situation right now!). It also details Santa’s ability to surpass the miracles needed to do what he does best, which I really enjoyed – a truly unique, and somewhat humorous story.
I really liked the story “Lovers with the Intensity I’m Talking About” because a) what a great title! And b) it was really engaging, even though it was sometimes difficult to tell what was going on, the constant return to the present day in front of a grocery store sliding door felt so visceral to me. I could picture the scene exactly in my mind, and even imagine myself in the same way decades into this life. Moore’s ability to predict life at that stage, one that is past children and on the verge of losing one’s partner is haunting but impressive.
One of the great strengths of this collection is the range of ages the characters illustrate, and regardless of the situation, I found myself empathizing with each and every one of them. Perhaps another pattern I can discern is that many characters are disadvantaged in one way or another, their problems lay out starkly in front of us as we turn the pages.
My reviews of short story collections always feel a bit broken up, although in my defense, it’s hard to tie them together without feeling like I’m over-generalizing. So, if this was review hard to follow I apologize, but in case it isn’t obvious yet, I highly recommend this book.