Realizing during a trip to Paris that she no longer loves her husband, Berie Carr remembers her childhood in upstate New York, where she shared a deep friendship with a captivating older girl named Sils. Reprint. NYT.
Why you shouldn't buy Lolita/catch-22: the authors are dead. Support people who are alive! The dead don't have to pay rent or buy stuffed animals for loved ones, etc.
It vexes my brain why Lolita is praised by just about everyone for it's suppose-ed beautiful, poetic language. It's absurd. If you want beautiful language, buy THIS BOOK. Just read the first couple pages. It's amazing that Lorrie Moore did this without a computer. Each word is perfect, new, FRESH, inventive, beautiful, original, etc. She is about 100x smarter than you.
The language of this book is so good, I don't even care about the plot. When I read it, the pleasure of each individual sentence is overwhelming, and subsequently, I have no more mental compartments to attend to the plot or anything else. So, even if the plot or the characters or whatever all these other reviewers are saying, is not BELIEVABLE or whatever, you should buy this book, and read sentence like it's poetry.
I'm afraid i've failed to express sufficiently what I really think about this.
Here's one last effort. If language were TV, Lolita would be a skit that didn't make it onto SNL. Who Will Run The Frog Hospital would be a really great novel.
By the way, Anagrams is better, in my opinion.
As for plot: the book alternates from the protagonist's present state of middle age marital ambiguity (while in Paris, which is described as "Anne Frank in a dress") to the narrators memories of her childhood friend Sils. Sils is manifest throughout, the book is really an elegy for what they meant to each other as girls, before boys came and school changed and adult awkwardness set in. One of the main themes is the narrators attempt to connect with those around her, to both "split her voice" and join in with the voices of those around her in perfect synch.
I'm sorry too ramble, but there is just something so indescribably beautiful about what Moore is trying to illustrate, that I think it goes beyond basic opinions that the book is "depressing." I myself don't like to read heavy solemn novels, I've read all the "Princess Diaries" and not a thing by Hemingway or Faulkner, etc. With Moore I feel like the writing overcomes the sorrow it catalogues, in that it makes it something beautiful ("Middlemarch" is similar, it is depressing but the writing makes it uplifting).
The only negative I can think of is that I did find it hard initially to get into the book, but that may be because Moore is accustomed to the short story form. Anyway, please read this novel, and ignore the negative reviews: it is worth the time.