Lorrie Moore, one of America's greatest short story writers, has a new novel, “I Am Homeless If This Is Not My Home.” (Photo credit John Foley / Opale / Bridgeman Images / Courtesy of Knopf) Since her 1985 collection, “Self-Help,” Lorrie Moore has been acclaimed as among America's greatest short story writers, but with “I Am Homeless If This Is Not My Home,” Moore returns to the novel for just the fourth time in the last 40 years. Like her stories, the book is mordantly funny, such as a scene in which the character Finn and Lily, his dead ex-girlfriend (yes, you read that right), discuss possible tombstone epitaphs like, “WELL, THAT WAS WEIRD” and “GOT NO EMOJIS FOR THIS” and “ATTENTION UNDERLYING CONDITIONS.” As Moore's sharply etched characters struggle to make sense of their world, readers may find themselves trying to make sense of Moore's world with its shifting storylines. There's the occasional bit of speculative 19th-century historical fiction with John Wilkes Booth as a boarder in a spinster's home, an incident set well after the time he was killed. Related : Sign up for the free Book Pages newsletter about bestsellers, authors and more For 40-odd pages, Moore writes a realistic and devastatingly moving section where Finn, a high school teacher in the Midwest, comes to New York to visit his brother Max, who is in hospice and dying far too young. Then the rest of the book is a surreal road trip, where Finn unhesitatingly abandons Max to help Lily. But she has committed suicide and so when Finn finds Lily, she's hoping to bum a ride to a burial spot in another state. (She's also, uh, decomposing.) All of this is taking place in 2016 in the weeks leading up to the presidential election. “The book is about grief — about the country at large and for Finn — and it's also about denial. And how you balance denial while also questioning the official narrative,” Moore said in a recent video interview. Q. Max is dying. Lily has killed herself. Finn feels helpless in the […]
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