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See What Can Be Done

Best Seller
See What Can Be Done by Lorrie Moore
Mar 05, 2019 | 512 Pages
See All Formats (2) +
  • Paperback $17.00

    Mar 05, 2019 | 512 Pages

  • Hardcover $29.95

    Apr 03, 2018 | 432 Pages

  • Ebook $12.99

    Apr 03, 2018 | 416 Pages

Product Details


“The kind of book, and the kind of human, you’d want to guide you through the past few decades in letters and culture. . . . Moore is one of our best documentarians of everyday amazement.” —The New Yorker

“Excellent. . . . Shining. . . . [This] book flooded my veins with pleasure.” —Dwight Garner, The New York Times

“Moore’s incisive, often mordant yet exhilarating pieces illuminate the trajectory of a literary artist’s aesthetic evolution, and enhance an understanding of her fiction.” —Claire Messud, The Guardian

“Impressive. . . . Her wicked wit is demonstrated by the opening sentence. . . . What sustains overall this group of essays and commentary is a continuous critical spirit that stays in touch with life.” —William H. Pritchard, The Wall Street Journal

“One of our finest fiction writers considers the work of her fellow artists. . . . [An] agile, funny, and sage take on literature and culture.” —O, The Oprah Magazine

“Captivating . . . . Nuanced and polished. . . . I found myself nestling into the book the way one does with the most gripping of novels.” —Daphne Merkin, The New York Times Book Review

“Moore’s writing sings at the atomic level. . . . One comes to this book not to find out what one should think, or even what Moore thinks, about Don DeLillo or Anais Nin or Alice Munro; the questions one can answer here are, instead, why one might care about them, and how a book or a story or a sentence might offer safety, companionship, sight.” —The New Republic

“A testament to the breadth of Moore’s intellect. . . . ‘One must throw all that one is into language,’ she writes, ‘like a Christmas tree hurled into a pool.’. . . See What Can Be Done is not only a call to that ideal, but a fulfillment of it.” —The Christian Science Monitor

“Whip-smart and thought-provoking.” —Elle

“Engrossing enough to read straight through. . . . Moore’s interest in fully revealing each work she discusses becomes a kind of guiding spirit. . . . Sublimely generous. . . . Embrace[s] elegance.” —Commonweal

“[A] brilliant and piercing collection. . . . She fearlessly tells the truth about hard things.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Sharply observed and gorgeously written. . . . Moore isn’t afraid to take a stand. . . . Moore places a premium in these pieces on the ‘resilience’ demonstrated by some of her subjects.  Let’s hope she continues to exhibit the same, giving us more of the short stories for which she’s renowned—and the essays for which she should be.” —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Arresting. . . . Excellent. . . . Incisive, wide-ranging. . . . Marvelously nuanced.” —The Observer (London)

“This collection of 60 lucid and erudite cultural essays by the award-winning fiction writer is a treasure.” —

“Lorrie Moore’s essays are brilliantly written, brimming with energy. . . . A generous reader of other writers, Moore is always smart, never snooty, and as in her novels and short stories, there’s a bold streak of humour.” —The Irish Times

Table Of Contents


Nora Ephron’s Heartburn (1983)
Kurt Vonnegut’s Galápagos (1985)
Malcolm Bradbury’s Cuts (1987)
Anaïs Nin, Marilyn Monroe (1987)
John Cheever (1988)
Bobbie Ann Mason’s Love Life (1989)
V. S. Pritchett’s A Careless Widow (1989)
Stanley Elkin’s The MacGuffin (1991)
Don DeLillo’s Mao II (1991)
Election Day 1992: Voters in Wonderland (1992)
Charles Baxter’s Shadow Play (1993)
Margaret Atwood’s The Robber Bride (1993)
On Writing (1994)
Amos Oz (1996)
Christmas for Everyone (1997)
Starr–Clinton–Lewinsky (1998)
Ann Beattie’s New and Selected Stories (1998)
JonBenét Ramsey by Lawrence Schiller (1999)
Joyce Carol Oates’s Broke Heart Blues (1999)
Dawn Powell (1999)
Best Love Song of the Millennium (1999)
Titanic (2000)
Claudia Roth Pierpont’s Passionate Minds (2000)
Philip Roth’s The Human Stain (2000)
Matthew Klam’s Sam the Cat (2000)
Legal Aide: My First Job (2001)
Frederic Cassidy (2001)
Alice Munro’s Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage (2002)
Edna St. Vincent Millay (2002)
Darryl Pinckney and Caryl Phillips (2002)
Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake (2003)
John Updike’s The Early Stories (2003)
Nicholson Baker’s Checkpoint (2004)
Alice Munro’s Runaway (2004)
Joan Silber (2005)
Eudora Welty (2006)
Alice Munro’s The Moons of Jupiter (2006)
Shakespeare: The Modern Elizabethan (2006)
One Hot Summer, or a Brief History of Time (2006)
Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd (2007)
Peter Cameron (2007)
Donald Barthelme (2009)
Clarice Lispector (2009)
Barack Obama (2009)
The Wire (2010)
Memoirs (2011)
Friday Night Lights (2011)
9/11/11 (2011)
GOP Primary Debate (2011)
Werner Herzog’s Into the Abyss (2011)
Suzzy Roche’s Wayward Saints (2012)
Lena Dunham (2012)
Wisconsin Recall (2012)
Richard Ford’s Canada (2012)
Ethan Canin’s “The Palace Thief” (2012)
Homeland (2013)
Jane Campion’s Top of the Lake (2013)
Blue Is the Warmest Color (2013)
Bernard Malamud (2014)
Miranda July (2014)
True Detective (2015)
Making a Murderer (2016)
Helen Gurley Brown (2016)
Ezra Edelman’s O.J.: Made in America (2016)
Thoughts on Hillary Clinton, December 2016 (2017)
Stephen Stills (2017)

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