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Media Center: ‘See What Can Be Done’ by Lorrie Moore

March 13th, 2018

WHO: Lorrie Moore

Essays, Criticism, and Commentary

WHEN: Published by Knopf April 4, 2018

WHERE: The author lives in Nashville.

WHY: “A rewarding collection
from a wonder of American letters.

“This collection of essays, reviews, and musings from 1983 to 2017 provides fascinating insights into one of America’s finest short story writers and her ever-evolving understanding of her craft.
“These essays define Moore as a critic of great candor and fairness, and a great champion of female writers, lauding Alice Munro, Joyce Carol Oates, Margaret Atwood, Dawn Powell, and Clarice Lispector. Her views on writers such as Phillip Roth, Eudora Welty, and John Updike are also deeply insightful and sympathetic. Throughout, her experience as a creative-writing instructor shines through; her incisive readings are a must for budding authors. Rarely looking inward, this collection charts trends in American art, culture, and politics over the last few decades (especially striking are her views on Wisconsin politics and her long-held distaste for Hillary Clinton), and the most recent pieces trace the rise of cable television series, including The Wire, Homeland, and True Detective.
“Though weighty and unusual, 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.”
–Alexander Moran, in a starred review for BOOKLIST

“A marvelous collection.
This book provides ample insight into Moore’s inner life; it is certainly a boon to any lover of smart cultural criticism.” –PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

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

. . . . .


The title of this book—See What Can Be Done—is not a boast but an instruction. I received it with almost every note I got from Robert Silvers, editor of The New York Review of Books. He would propose I consider writing about something—he usually just FedExed a book to my door—and then he would offer a polite inquiry as to my interest: perhaps I’d like to take a look at such and such. “See what can be done,” he would invariably close. “My best, Bob.” It was a magical request, and it suggested that one might like to surprise oneself. Perhaps a door would open and you would step through it, though he would be the one to have put it there in the first place.

Jacket photo

Media Resources:
About the book and author | Author tour | Download the jacket | Download the author photo

Knopf. 407 pages. $29.95
ISBN 978-1-5247-3248-6

To interview the author, contact:
Kathy Zuckerman | 212-572-2105 |