The History of Great Things

The History of Great Things

BOOKLIST  *Starred Review* - "There are two stories in Crane’s unusual novel: the life of Betsy Crane as her long-deceased mother, Lois, might have imagined it, and the life of Lois as Betsy invents it. Snapshot chapters alternate between these viewpoints, and thus Crane tells two women’s life stories not as they were or are but as they could have been. Mother and daughter, in most cases, relay scenes they didn’t witness, and the hitch is, of course, that author Crane, not exactly the Betsy we see on the page but not exactly not her either, is writing both. It sounds complicated, but the novel flows smoothly, and readers game for offbeat narrative approaches will be well rewarded. For instance, Betsy, as her mother, tells the story of adult Betsy, who fulfilled her childhood dream of starring in musicals. And Betsy-as-Lois gets to explain, sympathetically, the operatic career that consumed her mother, often to her family’s detriment. Some story lines even dip into the fantastically impossible, and why not? So much like the relationship they’re borne of, Crane’s deeply realized mother-daughter inventions are therapeutic and ruthless, heartfelt and crushing. A lovely exercise in the wild, soothing wonders of imagination."  — Annie Bostrom

We Only Know So Much

We Only Know So Much

“A wry evocation of modern life, at once familiar but also revelatory.” - Scott Martelle, Los Angeles Times

 

“Crane delivers a unique and dizzying tale that delves into the emotional life of a family teetering on the brink of everything. . . The beauty in Crane’s novel is her sweep from acid commentary to heartfelt portrayal of real-life loves and losses.” - Kirkus

“Crane’s novel is filled with deliciously idiosyncratic characters, humorous and distinct narration, and a whole lot of personality. Each character’s emotional growth is just enough to satisfy, without being overbearing. . . . Crane’s summer novel has undeniable heart.” - Publishers Weekly


“This is an irresistible and winsome read. A truly astute tale of love neglected and reclaimed, family resiliency, spiritual inquiries, and personal metamorphoses.” - Booklist starred review

 

You Must be This Happy to Enter

You Must Be This Happy to Enter

“In her third collection of inventive short stories, Crane continues to ingeniously satirize our muddled quest for meaning in all the wrong places. Her canny pivots from realistic trivia to outer-limits bizarreness, caustic humor, and underlying belief in goodness make for magnetizing, pleasingly barbed tales of the ever-shifting zeitgeist and the unchanging nature of the human heart.” – Donna Seaman, Booklist

 

" ... wickedly smart, hilarious, and ultimately devastating new collection ... What I mean is this: You Must Be This Happy to Enter is, in the end, unapolagetically sincere and idealistic, generous and brave.  The last story, Promise, a letter of almost unbearable sadness and hope, written by an expectant mother to her child - really got me, but it was just the end of a strong thread that ran through the entire book, of people taking a long, clear look at the difficulties of the world, large and small, and not flinching." - Village Voice

All This Heavenly Glory

All This Heavenly Glory

"Elizabeth Crane’s fabulous novel-in-stories, All This Heavenly Glory reminded me of some of my favorite writers and their books: Laurie Colwin’s The Lone Pilgrim, Julie Hecht’s Do the Windows Open?, and Lydia Davis’s Samuel Johnson Is Indignant. She has a similar quirky sense of humor and the ability to wrest the unusual out of the quotidian (and even the hackneyed). But the voice in Crane’s stories is all her own, and I grew to adore the main character, Charlotte Anne Byers, whose experiences we follow from age 6 (arriving in New York with a newly divorced mother) up to age 40 (falling in love with a much younger man). I felt as though I were sitting next to a really interesting person who goes on to tell you the story of her unremarkable but fascinating – because of the way she tells it – life."   

- Nancy Pearl, Booklust

 

“… bold, playful, at times experimental writing style and the infectious, skewed, at times absurdist humor.  Above all, neither Crane nor Charlotte takes herself too seriously while still managing to unearth some deep and beautiful observations about friendship, the mother-daughter bond, the search for a meaningful existence and the essence of healthy relationships.”

-Hagar Scher, Chicago Tribune

When The Messenger is Hot

When The Messenger is Hot

“The narrators of Elizabeth Crane’s hilariously off-kilter debut collection could use a little help. They have man troubles, drinking troubles; most of them teeter on the edge of sanity.... In a day and age when drug companies advertise a pill for every pain, there’s something utterly refreshing about the way Crane’s narrators bareback their way through life’s rough spots, pharmaceutical-free, refusing easy closure.... Crane has created an entirely original style that is one part stand-up routine, two parts confessional....Crane is so adept at immersing a reader in her narrators’ consciousness, that such surreal narrative twists feel right and true.”  -John Freeman, The San Francisco Chronicle

 

“When The Messenger is Hot sets out a unique, intriguing and often hilarious vision. Crane’s heroines have been around the block a few times but still have tread on their tires and an off-key song in their hearts. The world they’re given to navigate is unpredictable, the fates capricious, the winds tricky, and yet they press forward, holding onto their hats. I haven’t seen women quite like them anywhere else.” -Carol Anshaw, Chicago Tribune

 

“...what’s most remarkable about Crane’s wry, deliberately absurd tales is their overwhelming current of sorrow. Crane may hit the funny bone more often than not, but she’s secretly taking dead aim at the heart.” -Connie Ogle, Miami Herald

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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