I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
I’m not a huge fan of short stories, and I feel like I was rather fooled by the cover of this book into tackling it. I have worked with the Whooping Crane reintroduction program here in Calgary, exercising young crane chicks, and I simply couldn’t resist the pretty cover with the Whooping Crane on it. Plus that alluring title (for a birder), Birds of America. How either the image or the title relate to the stories within remains a mystery to me.
Moore’s stories are rather bleak views of human relationships—told from all kinds of angles but with similar disappointments to go round. As in this dinner party exchange:
"The thing to remember about love affairs," says Simone, "is that they are all like having raccoons in your chimney."
"Oh, not the raccoon story," groans Cal.
"Yes! The raccoons!" cries Eugene.
I'm sawing at my duck.
"We have raccoons sometimes in our chimney," explains Simone.
"Hmmm," I say, not surprised.
"And once we tried to smoke them out. We lit a fire, knowing they were there, but we hoped that the smoke would cause them to scurry out the top and never come back. Instead, they caught on fire and came crashing down into our living room, all charred and in flames and running madly around until they
Simone swallows some wine. "Love affairs are like that," she says. "They all are like that."
I don’t believe I’ve ever had a love affair which ended quite so spectacularly. Apparently, I am doing it wrong.