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When the Messenger Is Hot: Storiesby Elizabeth Crane
Synopses & Reviews
The women in When the Messenger Is Hot are fierce and kind, damaged and optimistic. They are recovering from loss or addiction or betrayal, or they are on the fringes of reality or sanity or a "conventional" life. They are jilted lovers, absent daughters, Twelve-Steppers, and smart-asses. Imagined with tenderness and unflinching honesty, they experience love and loss in a way that is both uniquely theirs and universal.
From the woman who decides to live on the patio rooftop of her friend's apartment building, to the bestselling memoir writer who finds her identity overtaken by the actress cast in the movie adaptation, to the daughter convinced her dead mother is in fact simply stuck at a North Dakota bus depot, the characters herein confront and defy the onslaught of crises, emotions, and passions that seem to arise at every turn.
With disarming humor and playfulness, Elizabeth Crane gleefully and memorably explores the absurdities and possibilities of modern life.
"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." Carol Anshaw, Chicago Tribune
"There's an energy and immediacy to these stories that make them feel as if they could have been delivered in one beautiful, raw rant over a bottle of wine. A night reading them is a night well spent. (Grade: A-)" Entertainment Weekly
"Though Crane's stories deal with serious issues — love, dishonesty, betrayal, grief, drinking, sadness — her tone displays polish, humor and a delectable lightness." USA Today
"Strangely moving evocations of how it's possible to be both smart and dumb, wise and clueless, lost and found." Glamour
"The fuzzy-brained among us will tag the stories herein as accounts of modern love gone wrong. But Elizabeth Crane is after far bigger game: the crisis of identity that lies at the center of all romantic woe. Her stories are short, sharp, and shocking — wry, wounded cries of the heart in extremis." Steve Almond, author of My Life In Heavy Metal
"I've always wondered where exactly I could find the 'fringes of society.' Then I read these stories. The narrator of the collection is a woman who hangs with a dead baby's ghost and correctly predicts her mom's return from the other side, among other things. But the writing is so damn clever it made me think the fringe might not be such a bad place to visit." Lori Yacovone, Jane magazine
"Vibrant and original stories that introduce a wonderful new voice." Kate Atkinson, author of Behind the Scenes at the Museum and Emotionally Weird
"Crane creates a spirited cast of loopy, neurotic and self-absorbed women, then puts them through their paces in this debut collection of 16 inventive but frequently one-dimensional stories." Publishers Weekly
"These stories' virtues complement each other: on one side, they're sexy and funny, they're told with ardent fluency, and they embrace themes that resonate across the board. And then they're poignant, wise, and uncompromising and candid about the particularities of one woman's life. When the Messenger Is Hot is the winning debut of a gifted writer." Ken Kalfus, author of Thirst and Pu-239
"Elizabeth Crane's writing scintillates with melancholy energy. I enjoyed this collection a lot." Darcey Steinke, author of Suicide Blonde
"Elizabeth Crane's heroines' nonstop talk is the twin to their lip-biting silence, just as their street smarts are partner to their dead-on confusion. What will make you surrender at once to their fractured selves — the alcoholic who isn't an alcoholic, the girlfriend with no boyfriend, the tall skinny girl who's short and fat — is that behind their self-absorption lies a social commentary marked by an exhilarated sadness, a most down-to-earth lunacy. Unexpectedly, each splintered voice finds itself speaking a single, inviolate message, like the colored shards coalescing on the far end of the kaleidoscope." Abby Frucht, author of Polly's Ghost and Life Before Death
"Crane has a distinctive and eccentric voice that is consistent and riveting from the first story to the last, and When the Messenger Is Hot expresses a remarkably strong and coherent artistic vision, if not an expansive one." Jennifer Reese, New York Times Book Review
"Crane's is the art of writing a lot without saying much. The result, while often funny, usually adds up to no more than that. Talented and witty, but aimed squared at the Ally McBeal set." Kirkus Reviews
The women in this debut story collection are fierce and kind, damaged and optimistic, as Crane gleefully explores the absurdities and possibilities of modern life.
About the Author
Elizabeth Crane's stories have appeared in the Sycamore Review, Washington Square, Weep Daily, New York Stories, Book, the Florida Review, and Eclipse. She has been a preschool teacher and a tutor for child actors. She lives in Chicago.
Table of Contents
The Archetype's girlfriend — Something shiny — Privacy and coffee — The Super fantastic New Zealand triangle — You take naps — Josie and Hyman differ in their use of the word fuck — Year-at-a-glance — Normal — Return frm the depot! — The Daves — He thinks he thinks — Christina — Proposal — An Invervention — When the messenger is hot — Good for you!
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