BOOKS: Fallen Arches

Lorrie Moore's wispy novel carries unbearable weight

Pity the poor Paris pansies. Blooming in their flower beds, they disturb our heroine; to her, it seems, their "triangular, black centers boast the mustache of Hitler himself." But then Berie Carr, the narrator of Lorrie Moore's new novel, Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? (Knopf; 148 pages; $20), is someone who can find likenesses everywhere -- trees like candelabras, pastries like art. She asks her Bohemian friend Marguerite, "Do you think the Venus de Milo looks like Nicolas Cage?"

Berie is in Paris with her husband. Theirs is a touchy relationship; she feels she cannot reach him. She also has...

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