top of page
This Story Will Change

This Story Will Change

A Memoir

After the Happily Ever After

Elizabeth Crane

"Elizabeth Crane's debut memoir is a stunning investigation of heartbreak, but it's also an exploration of what it means to rebuild one's life after a long marriage. Poignant, funny and wise, this is the book you'll be buying for all of your friends." Emily Rapp Black,

author of Sanctuary


The History of Great Things
We Only Know So Much
You Must Be This Happy To Enter
When The Messenger is Hot
All This Heavenly Glory

Praise for Turf

"Twenty-two often witty, sometimes-disquieting short stories . . . Autobiography and imagination walking hand in hand into the sunset.” —Kirkus Reviews

“[Crane’s] stories are fun and bizarre and wonderful and so, so sneaky . . . Elizabeth Crane mines the everyday and reveals what we’re missing. It’s unsettling. It’s hilarious. It’s . . . beyond. And you just know she’s having a great time, because suddenly you are,
too.” —Lindsay Hunter, Electric Literature

“A daring piece of literature delicately teetering between story and observation . . . Crane demonstrates insight into our deepest fears and desires and what makes people tick.” - Publisher's Weekly

We Only Know So Much - Movie Updates & Trailer

We Only Know So Much movie

Based on Elizabeth Crane's novel and adapted for film by Crane and Donal Lardner Ward, We Only Know So Much reveals the emotional life of four generations of the Copeland family. As Jean (Jeanne Tripplehorn) reckons with consequences of an affair, her husband, Gordon (Damian Young), worries he's falling prey to the same dementia that has afflicted his father (Loudon Wainwright III). Their children, Otis (Noah Schnapp, Stranger Things) and Priscilla (Taylor Rose), navigate the pitfalls of first love and young adulthood, while the family's 95-year-old matriarch, Vivian (Virginia Robinson), struggles to maintain control of the household in the comedic drama.

About the Filmmaker 

Donal Lardner Ward launched his professional career with an acting role in Whit Stillman's 1990 breakout indie, Metropolitan, then went on to co-write, co-produce, co-direct, and co-star in the 1994 indie hit, My Life's In Turnaround. Donal has been employed as a screenwriter or television writer by Sony, Warner Brothers, New Line Cinema, Universal, Paramount, Fox, IFC, HBO, and Amazon, as well as various independent producers. We Only Know So Much is his fourth feature as director.

We Only Know So Much premiered at the Nantucket Film Festival in June 2018, and was shown at the Circle Cinema Film Festival in Tulsa in July 2018. We Only Know So Much won the Best Feature at the 2018 Big Apple Film Festival, and is now streaming on most VOD services.

Movie Updates

Praise for
This Story Will Change

Elizabeth Crane has written a book that feels like intimate company and impossible grace. It’s also impossible to put down. The momentum of this book doesn’t come from making us wonder how the story ends, but from its insistence that the end of the story is just the beginning. Crane is hilarious, generous, and constantly attuned to the complexities and absurdities of her own life. In the fragments of this book, she has done the remarkable work of finding a structure that feels like the texture of thought itself: the way the mind returns to the scene of a terrible crime (or a great love) and approaches it from as many angles as possible. This book is picking up the shards of something big and beautiful and broken—a marriage—and rather than trying to put these fragments back together, it uses them to create something utterly devastating, utterly alive, and utterly new.

Leslie Jamison,
author of Make it Scream, Make it Burn

All memoirs claim to be true stories, but surely some are truer than others. I haven’t read a truer story than this one. I laugh-cried and cry- cried. I said things aloud while reading this book that would need to be bleeped. Elizabeth Crane’s This Story Will Change is not a divorce book. There is no groove to get back. There is no praying, but there is definitely some eating—and plenty of loving, though not in, as she writes, a ‘losing one dude and
then meeting a new dude and then everything is better’ kind of way. What there is, in spades, is truth. And the truth is, the story—the life—changes, and it will keep changing.

Maggie Smith, author of Keep Moving

There is no writer like Elizabeth Crane. Full Stop. Every sentence is its own wild journey and by the time you get to the period at the end you’re laughing like crazy or trying to pick your broken heart up off the floor—either way, you’re changed. You’re more open, and so desperately less alone. This Story Will Change gives us the first year
of loss in all its confusion and upheaval; in this case, the gut punch of divorce, but Crane gives us so much more than a marriage memoir. It’s how our bodies move forward—one foot in front of the other, make it to the end of the day—while our heads go back—what the hell just happened and what could I have done differently? The truth of it—in form and feeling as well as story—took my breath away. I kept putting the book down to interrogate my own heart. I kept picking it back up to figure out how she did that. I kept picking it back up to show me how to save myself.

Megan Stielstra, author of The Wrong Way to Save Your Life

Elizabeth Crane has a way of looking at things, almost microscopically, that makes them appear strange and exquisite and infinitely dimensional and evanescent-- like vanishing snowflakes. In This Story Will Change, she processes the sudden end of her long marriage by examining it through the prism of property, promises, dreams, expectations, and totemic objects, exploring the stories we tell ourselves and each other in the process of co-creating our lives. With characteristic humor, lightness, and grace, and much in the manner of a jeweler dismantling an intricate watch, Crane reveals marriage as a delicate machine for producing the illusion of permanence as bittersweet consolation against the constant, inevitable, irrevocable change that defines the human condition.

Carina Chocano, author of You Play the Girl

"Maybe everyone wonders what love even is after it goes away," writes Elizabeth Crane in this absolutely luminous, devour in one sitting, if-The-Department-of-Speculation-were-a-memoir (only weirder), sly, heartwracking, hopeful, and intense deconstruction of her long marriage deconstructing. I read every brutally compassionate, honest and yet shapeshifting word with my heart in my throat. If you have ever broken anyone's heart, if you have ever had your heart broken, if you have ever wondered whether memory plays
tricks to work your own self-doubts into every equation, or if you've blamed someone else for things that might have been your own damn fault all the while biting your tongue in the face of arrows shot stealth that would wound for decades...listen, if you are a
human being who has any interest in relationships between human beings, read this book. I have been every person in this story in one way or another, and so have you.

Gina Frangello, author of
Blow Your House Down

In The Press

Stories / Non-Fiction / Interviews




Portrait of An Old Lady, Oldster Magazine

Training Module, Guernica Magazine

The Long TrialCatapult

We Collect Things, Commentary

Everywhere, Now, The Huffington Post


This is a Dad Story, Guernica


Wind, Hobart


The Genius Meetings, Guernica


Turf, The Collagist


Star Babies, The Coachella Review


Something Shiny, Chicago Reader


Promise, failbetter


Roosters and BedRookie

This Story Will Change (excerpt), AirLight Magazine

On Girls, Trump, and Everyone I Ever Dated, Lithub

Twenty Five, The Rumpus

Nothing is Just One Thing, The Huffington Post


It's Everything, The Manifest-Station

Ruby and Oli, The Believer


Elston Avenue, Chicago Magazine





Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

LA Times Festival of Books, April 22 - 24, 2022 University of Southern California campus

Wall to Wall Selected Shorts

Selected Shorts Wall to Wall 35th Anniversary, Saturday March 26, Symphony Space



Elizabeth Crane 2021

Elizabeth Crane is the author of four collections of short stories, Turf, When the Messenger is Hot, All this Heavenly Glory, and You Must Be This Happy to Enter as well as two novels, We Only Know So Much and The History of Great Things. Her work has been translated into several languages and has been featured in numerous publications including Other Voices, Nerve, EcotoneSwink, Guernica, Coachella Review, Mississippi Review, Florida Review, Bat City Review, fivechapters, The CollagistMake, Hobart, Rookie, Fairy Tale Review, failbetter, The Huffington Post, Eating Well, Chicago Magazine, The Chicago Reader and The Believer, and anthologies including Altared, The Show I’ll Never Forget, The Best  Underground Fiction, Who Can Save Us Now?, Brute Neighbors and Dzanc’s Best of the Web 2008 and 2010. Her stories have been featured on NPR’s Selected Shorts. Crane is a recipient of the Chicago Public Library 21st Century Award, and her work has been adapted for the stage by Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater company, and also been adapted for film. She teaches in the UCR-Palm Desert low-residency MFA program. A film adaptation of We Only Know So Much is now streaming on most VOD services. Her debut memoir, This Story Will Change, came out in August 2022 from Counterpoint Books.

Writing Services


Manuscript Consultation & Private Workshops

I've taught creative writing at the college and graduate level for 15 years at the University of Chicago, the School of the Art Institute, Northwestern University, and the University of Texas at Austin. Since 2009, I've been a core faculty member in the UCR-Palm Desert Low Residency MFA Program.

If you're interested in setting up a one-time manuscript consultation or working with me in a workshop format, feel free to contact me for more information at


Representation: Alice Tasman, Jean Naggar Literary Agency


Email Elizabeth

  • Black Facebook Icon
  • Black Twitter Icon
  • Black Instagram Icon
bottom of page