Lorrie Moore’s Birds of America: Stories is a compelling read, but not for reasons that most readers may find. Almost all the stories start off on very unpromising notes. Moore veers this way and that, and the reader may wonder where she is going and what she is doing. There is unfortunate goofy descriptive language. Most of the stories, with an exception or two, begin this way, and it is perplexing.
But Moore has the very strange ability to “turn” her stories around, often in the last few pages. She veers us away from the verge of doom again and again, creating stories with great insights and pathos. So, if you read this book, stay with the task. You will be rewarded in the end.