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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.
"Strangely moving evocations of how it's possible to be both smart and dumb, wise and clueless, lost and found." Glamour
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
A collection of short stories from the author of 'Elizabeth Drinker'.
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.
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