See What Can Be Done: Essays, Criticism, and Commentary

Knopf. Apr. 2018. 432p. ISBN 9781524732486. $28.95; ebk. ISBN 9781524732493. LIT
OrangeReviewStarThis collection of 66 previously published essays from 1983 to 2017 arranged in chronological order show the broad range of Moore's (Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English, Vanderbilt Univ.; Bark: Stories) interests. Topics include television, movies, music, and literature. The title is based on instructions Moore received from a book review editor who asked her to submit a review: see what can be done, meaning write about something. Moore calls these reviews and essays "cultural responses to cultural responses." The volume includes a range of authors, from John Cheever to Joyce Carol Oates, Margaret Atwood, and Richard Ford. There is a twist in a few reviews. "Stephen Stills" incorporates Moore's 2017 experience at a Stills concert into a review of a biography of the singer. "Ezra Edelman's O.J. Made in America" compares Moore's thoughts on the day of the Simpson verdict with the complicated construction of the man shown in the ESPN documentary. The political essays cover the presidency of George H.W. Bush in 1992 to "Election 2016: A Postscript." Personal pieces such as "Christmas for Everyone," which sheds light on Moore's family life.
VERDICT Writers and readers will be impressed with Moore's astuteness and reach. The collection is an impressive review of one writer's nonfiction compendium. [See Prepub Alert, 10/9/17.]
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