Townhouse Books

Monday, October 17, 2005

Who Will Run the Frog Hospital?: Lorrie Moore

If anyone's talked to me recently, you've heard about this book. And then you've heard about it again the next day, and probably again when I saw you the week after. I've got Anagrams and, although it's a great piece, it brings me down. Like, a lot. For some reason, Frog Hospital doesn't.

A basic plot summary could go: a woman is in Paris with her husband, and reminisces about her youth while experiencing the slow dissolve of her marriage. But her youth...

The protaganist grew up in a small town near the Canadian border (Moore constructs a great sense of place) and had an incredibly close, obsessive frienship with another teenage girl. The book explores the intensity of teenage friendship, its dissolution, the protaganist's escape from her small-town past, and even her first introduction to romantic love. These are common themes (the teenage-girl intensity of the friendship is drawn particularly well) but Lorrie Moore is her own thing. People often talk about authors having a singular voice, but Moore really does. She is precisely her own thing.

I'm starting to gush. I can't do her justice, so I'll leave you with something from the book:

The frogs. Years later, I would read in the paper that frogs were disappearing from the earth, that even in the most pristine of places, scientists were looking and could not find them. It was a warning, said the article. A plague of no frogs. And I thought of those walks up the beach road I'd made any number of times in the sexual evening hum of summer, how called and lovely and desired you felt, how possible, even when you weren't at all. It was the frogs doing that.


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  • A plague of no frogs. This might be my perfect follow up to Cat's Eye with all it's women friendships in Canada.

    By evt1618, at 8:52 PM  

  • There are a ton of similarities between the two authors. I think my tastes are getting predictable in my old age.

    Robber Bride (Atwood) is another neat look at relationships between adult women. Friendship, but competition and betrayal, too.

    By lillygog, at 4:52 PM  

  • Sadly I did Robber Bride on a very long road trip. As much as I like reading Atwood's writing, it was excruciating to listen to it.

    By evt1618, at 1:51 PM  

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