Elizabeth McGovern

Author Laura Moriarty visits Baltimore

Author Laura Moriarty visits Baltimore

It's difficult to imagine what Laura Moriarty's four novels would have been like if she had chosen a place to live other than Kansas, with its endless wheat fields and abundance of ordinary light.

Moriarty, 42, focuses her gaze on the most common, everyday things in the world — a single mom cooking a grilled cheese sandwich, a visit to the convenience store — and finds in them characters and events of remarkable depth, complexity and variety.

Though the author is a Marine's daughter who was born in Hawaii and spent her childhood in places renowned for their physical beauty, she decided as an adult to settle in Kansas.

"We moved so much as a kid that all I could...