Books: Birds of America

By Lorrie Moore

The title of her story collection is borrowed from a late novel by Mary McCarthy, who lifted the name from Audubon's celebrated book of avian engravings. But Moore might as well have used Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious, Freud's classic essay on humor. The bemused and angry women in Birds defiantly quip their way through trouble. "When I'm sleeping with someone, I'm less obsessed with the mail," says a lonely ex-film star. A reluctant wife explains her conjugal state with the comment, "I married my husband because I thought it would be a great way to meet guys." Moore...

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