HERE’S YOUR HAT—WHAT’S YOUR HURRY: “Short Stories That Are Good, Better, Best!”July 5, 2010
Had I just read the first two stories—the first is about a tattooed woman; the second, about a child raised by a house full of strangers—I would have found them entertaining, but probably not memorable, but in this collection the author does a curious thing. She goes back over the same themes again and again, and each time there is new depth.
They become more personal, more real, more urgent. In “Secretary of State” that young child in the second story (now in completely different circumstances) becomes alienated from her mother’s family over the father’s mental collapse. And in “The Goings On of the World” we see another side of the single woman who spends extended time living with strangers by claiming to be their distant relative. The tattooed woman is also reprised by an armless mother.
This is great contemporary writing. Fiction that pulls you in and sends you out the other side a little different person. Elizabeth McCracken was a librarian before becoming a full-time writer. Now you can check her out.
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