Something for Everyone

By (author) Lisa Moore
Categories: Short stories, Fiction: special features, Fiction and Related items, Fiction: general and literary
Publisher: House of Anansi Press
Paperback : 9781487001162, 304 pages, September 2018

Excerpt

Orlando, Florida. I’m here with a conference of twenty thousand librarians from all over North America, two weeks after the Pulse massacre. It’s very early; I’m jogging around two big, olive-coloured ponds and not a breath of wind, an empty eight-lane highway between the ponds and I’m on the median.

A lizard skitters over the curb and across the highway. It goes in fast-forward but there are glitches. Stops. Goes, stops. Darts. A jellied quivering. The long thin body is still, but the legs. You can’t even see the legs in the bald light. Just a blur of motion.

There are squiggles of fluorescent spray-paint here and there on the sidewalk in pink, orange, and lime. They’re construction directives, targets for jackhammers, indicating the location of water or sewage pipes beneath the concrete, positions for embedded spigots, underground tunnels for workers and who knows what else — bog people, muskets, cannonballs, arrowheads. I took two planes to get here.

Orlando was retrieved from the swamp by a wily entrepreneur who set up dummy companies to purchase the land cheap. A hundred thousand people work in the theme parks here, vomiting in their oversized cartoon-costume heads because you aren’t allowed to vomit in a theme park. It’s hot in those cartoon heads. You aren’t even allowed to die of heat prostration.

People who die on the parks’ premises are secreted away, whisked from the grounds in unmarked cars and why not? Why not have a zone that death can’t in infiltrate? It costs fabulously to squeeze into these crowds, to belong.

Of course you offer life without death.

You offer furry animals that speak.

When I’m coming around the second pond the sprayers come on and shuffle out sheets of recollected water, the sign says. Water that I don’t want to touch my bare skin because who knows.

It’s not true that the wily entrepreneur is cryogenically preserved. That’s an urban legend. People say just his head in a murky aquarium: mouth open, the lower lip looking grey and nibbled, deteriorating despite the formaldehyde, like he’s developed a cold sore, and a five o’clock shadow, because hair still grows in death. Sometimes the head burps and a wobbling bubble escapes a corner of the mouth. A fold-encrusted eyelid utters. But that is just the underwater air infiltration.

This place is where the GoFundMe stage-four cancer children come to fulfill a bucket list. The parks around here specialize in reconstituting hearts — break ’em, put ’em back together. The white beluga in the aquarium will do it for you, all by itself. Defibrillate your soul. The ghostly mammal emerges from the murk, tail dragging because of a low-grade fugue.

Description

Internationally celebrated as one of literature’s most gifted stylists, Lisa Moore returns with her third story collection that shows us the timeless, the tragic, and the miraculous hidden in the underbelly of our everyday lives. To learn more about this publisher, click here: http://bit. ly/2zl2V1p

Awards

  • Commended, A Globe and Mail Book of the Year 2018
  • Winner, Alistair MacLeod Prize for Short Fiction 2018
  • Winner, Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award 2018
  • Long-listed, Scotiabank Giller Prize 2018
  • Commended, A Quill & Quire Book of the Year 2018

Reviews

Moore takes her characters to some undeniably dark places in these stories, though the book is never entirely devoid of humour or hope. And there is abiding joy in the prose, which is lithe and tensile in equal measure. There is astonishment here, and grit, and beauty that is close to breathtaking.

- Quill and Quire

In Moore’s most diverse and powerful collection yet, each story has a role to play in highlighting the most fascinating hidden aspects of our everyday lives.

- Toronto Life

Lisa Moore brings a particular wizardry to whatever she touches, but her command of the short story is such that when she bends its rules, we look at old ideas in new ways . . . The stories in Something for Everyone are like prizes in pass-the-parcel. They tie up neatly, but they’re loose enough so that when you move the package, the corner edge tears, and the wrapping opens up like a hole in a pair of nylons, and you realize there are a lot more layers underneath that need to be peeled back and teased apart.

- Overcast

The stories in Lisa Moore’s collection, Something for Everyone, pulsate with raw energy and a fierce, searching intelligence. In a series of unconventional tales that explode off the page, Moore ushers her reader into a familiar but fractured and anything-but-straightforward reality. Lisa Moore writes of quotidian lives in crisis. Her characters’ anxieties mirror our own: family, love, employment, finances. But from these commonplace lives she conjures spellbinding mini-dramas, drawing us in from each story’s opening line, generating great suspense and fully engaging our sympathies. Throughout, the writing is vibrant, uninhibited and packed with sensual detail. Moore acknowledges the beauty of nature and the human capacity for kindness; she is no stranger to the essential comedy of the human condition. But never does she shy away from the dark undercurrents of her characters’ lives. Something for Everyone is an important book by a major talent working at the height of her considerable powers, an author who isn’t afraid to stretch the boundaries of her art and who pursues her singular aesthetic vision in an uncompromising and wildly entertaining manner.

- Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award Jury Citation

[A] testimony to her absolute mastery of technique . . . Without question, Moore is a writer of great social conscience and compassion.

- Toronto Star