“Life is sad. Here is someone.”

Benna looked back at her knees feeling that she’d been made, forever and for now, like her marriage vows, stupid with loneliness, bereft of any truth or wisdom or flicker of poetry, possessed only of the wild glaze of a person who spends entire days making things up.

Story of my life these days c/o La Lorrie, haha. I haven’t stopped reading, folks. That’s silly. But, as trite as this may sound, I’m still trying to figure out life and loving, and, [small-]partly, literature. Writing has taken a backseat, yes — my own, and for this blog.

But sometimes I have to crawl out from wherever I’ve been hiding to share something just so mind-blowingly good, even though I’m very much aware that I’ll fail to do justice to the experience.

Hello, Anagrams by Lorrie Moore. You are, basically, one of the best books I’ve ever read, one of my favorites. I read you, and it was the perfect time, and you were relevant — there was no other book I could have read. And I can’t wait to read you again, because I’m absolutely certain I’ll love you in any way we set things up between us.

Miss Moore, I am even more ardently, and cultishly, a fan. And I feel so smug that I’ve read this novel — and I really can’t wait to read the rest [there are two of yours I’m yet to read, but I’m getting there.] Here, you’ve written a [literally] multi-faceted love story with the quirkiest, saddest, most charming heroine at its center, Benna Carpenter.

By the end of our marriage I was sitting in our house in outer suburbia, wondering, Where does love go? When something you have taped on the wall falls off, what has happened to the stickum? It has relaxed. It has accumulated an assortment of hairs and fuzzies. It has said Fuck it and given up. It doesn’t go anywhere special, it’s just gone. Energy is created, and then it is destroyed. So much for the laws of physics. So much for chemistry. So much for not so much.

How many ways can you write about love and romance? Why are they so goddamned good? Why am I inclined to simply quote the book in its entirety, because talking about it, well, I’m just fuzzily grinning right now? Why are you so good, why are you always so right for me?

Our laughs grow louder and hazy. Soon we are kissing. Soon we are unbuttoning. I haven’t kissed or unbuttoned in a long time and it’s like, at long last, a meeting of friends, falling into a familiar, ineffable dance we’ve both learned elsewhere, long ago, but have revived here, a revival! perhaps like Agness DeMille’s Oklahoma! something like that. It is as if our separate pasts were greeting each other, as if we were saying, This is how I have been with other people, this is how I would love you. If I loved you. Everything always seems to boil down to Rodgers and Hammerstein. Off you would go in the mist of day and all that.

I’m so besotted — and this book is so good, so good to me — that there is no way I can correctly approximate feelings, find the right words. You are goddamned awesome. And it’s not the debilitating kind of awesome. You’ve always been the kind of writer who urges me to go directly to my own notebook after reading you, to write my own stuff. And yes, you’ve always been the best kind of literary memory.

This book is my literary doppelganger. That’s so self-indulgent to say, no? But, heh, this book is mine. You wrote this with me in mind, Miss Moore. You’ll have to admit that sooner or later.

17 thoughts on ““Life is sad. Here is someone.”

  1. Actually, I think she wrote it for me–Benna Carpenter est moi and all that. We may have to fight. ;)

    So so glad to find such a wonderful tribute to one of my most favoritest books. I get tired of no one else having seemed to read it. I’ve been scouring my archives looking for some small lozenge of gratitude to offer you. . .

    Here’s something. The Daniel Handler connection.

    And my daughter stakes claim on a duplicate copy of Anagrams.

    1. Hi, Susan — I can see I have competition, haha. I’m deliriously in love with Lorrie Moore, ever since I read her story “How to Be an Other Woman” from a random anthology. It’s amazing. Though I still wholeheartedly believe I am Benna Carpenter, ;]

      Also, I don’t know who Daniel Handler is, but since he admitted to paying homage to Anagrams, I know I need to hunt down Adverbs. :] — And I love that little story about your daughter. :] The things we love, giving them away, to people we lover more. :] Thank you so much for sharing! It makes me feel better I wasn’t as ineloquent in this review as I thought I’d been.

  2. Hello there! Stumbled upon this wonderful book blog of yours, Sasha! Just in case you want to buy some books, just visit my site.


  3. There’s nothing nicer than a book written just for you, is there? And part of the charm is that other people don’t get it. Of course they don’t – it’s not ‘their’ book after all – and if they did feel the same as you did it would kind of cheapen the experience. I didn’t love Lorrie Moore I’m afraid, but I’m glad you found her.

    1. Everything you said, YES. Except for the not liking Lorrie Moore, obviously, haha. There are books that seem like they were made for you, no? And people just won’t get it. And you’re always torn between forcing them to get it, and keeping it all to yourself. :]

  4. “I’m still trying to figure out life and loving, and, [small-]partly, literature.”
    If you’re in your 30s, I give you another 40 years or so; in your 20s, another 50 years or so. Life and loving, difficult crazy-ass issues, these.

    1. Ah, another 50 years for me then. Then again, it’s in the 20s that we keep insisting to figure out these crazy-ass issues. Effectively making us crazy-ass as well. :]

      Thanks, Kevin!

  5. I may need to get this book, you know. I was looking for a Lorrie Moore to get the other day, but couldn’t seem to find the right one. Now, I know!

  6. Have just found your blog – hi hi hello. I think I need to read this book right away… thanks for the recommendation…


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