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See What Can Be Done

See What Can Be Done by Lorrie Moore
Apr 03, 2018 | 432 Pages
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  • Paperback $16.95

    Mar 05, 2019 | 512 Pages

  • Hardcover $29.95

    Apr 03, 2018 | 432 Pages

  • Ebook $12.99

    Apr 03, 2018 | 416 Pages

Product Details


The critics welcome Lorrie Moore’s See What Can Be Done

“From one of America’s most brilliant writers … a delight …”


“Incisive, wide-ranging … marvelously nuanced … Moore is a lively guest at the party, but she never tries to steal the show.”

–Kate Kellaway, The Guardian

“A testament to the breadth of Moore’s intellect. There are pieces here on everyone from Nora Ephron to Kurt Vonnegut to Edna St. Vincent Millay, and everything from Christmas pop songs to 9/11. What unifies these pieces–what must galvanize any such collection–is the author’s voice, a prevailing sensibility. ‘One must throw all that one is into language,’ she writes, ‘like a Christmas tree hurled into a pool.’ At its best, See What Can Be Done is not only a call to that ideal, but a fulfillment of it.”

–Danny Heitman, The Christian Science Monitor

“34 years of lively, often humorous critical prose. Moore’s wicked wit is demonstrated by the opening sentence … What sustain 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

“Whip-smart and thought-provoking.”


“Intimate and approachable … See What Can Be Done flooded my veins with pleasure. Had she wanted, Moore could have had an important career as a theater or television critic. When writing teachers pass this book to their students, the title will be read as a simple command.”

–Dwight Garner, The New York Times

“Lorrie Moore’s writing and analysis, as with her fiction, is so consistently smart, funny, and unexpected that the essays end up feeling far more compulsively readable than it seems essays have any right to be. It’s like she’s invented some sort of extremely healthy snack that possesses all the addictive qualities of junk food. It’s not only an extremely good-looking book, it’s also an extremely good book, period.”

–Scott Smith, author of A Simple Plan and The Ruins

“Fascinating insights into one of America’s finest short story writers and her ever-evolving understanding of her craft … her incisive readings are a must for budding authors … this rewarding collection from a wonder of American letters provides a rich reading list, while Moore, cogent, distinctive, and entertaining, reiterates what great art can do.”


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

–Jane Ciabattari,

“Deft, graceful essays from a sharply incisive writer.”


“A fantastic collection … The essay on writing alone is worth the price of admission. If Lorrie Moore is not the Miles Davis of cultural criticism, she is surely the Bill Evans; she’s got those brilliant harmonies and that swinging incisive wit.”

–Ben Sidran

“Acclaimed fiction writer Moore has compiled her nonfiction writings into a marvelous collection … a window onto the trajectory of both late 20th-century American culture and Moore’s development as a writer. Throughout, her chief virtue as a critic is shown to be a sympathetic, generous eye … a boon to any lover of smart cultural criticism.”

Publishers Weekly

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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