Wednesday, April 02, 2008

What is Elizabeth Crane reading?

The latest featured contributor to Writers Read: Elizabeth Crane, author of three collections of short stories -- When The Messenger is Hot, All This Heavenly Glory, and You Must Be This Happy to Enter.

From her entry:
The thing about this book [I've been reading] is that there was so much hype about it, even more by the time I finally cracked it, that for me it was almost destined to fail in some way. I'm always suspicious when there's that much attention on a book, you know, that isn't mine. You think - there's no way that all these people could be right about this. [read on]
About You Must Be This Happy to Enter, from the publisher:
Whether breathlessly enthusiastic serenely calm, or really concentrating on their personal zombie issues, Crane's happy cast explore the complexities behind personal satisfaction. You Must Be This Happy to Enter exists in a world very much like our own but infused with more joy and magic. It's a place where the happy are jailed, the sincere cause confusion, and pop culture so seamlessly melds with real life that characters can walk right out of the television and come live with you.

Crane's third collection, aims to convey something fresh in literature: utter sincerity. With a trademark mix of hyperreality, humor, and heartfelt emotion, You Must Be This Happy to Enter asks readers to connect with the loopy ways of her characters. Because even though they're occasionally severed from reality, they still seem to know something you don't about keeping upbeat in a strange and crumbling environment.

The opening story features a woman who can speak only in exclamations. Betty may be a zombie on a reality TV show, but she's a woman willing to work on herself. Sally is just plain old freaking happy. (You shouldn't even read this story.) Another woman gives birth to a baby who turns into Ethan Hawke, but by golly, she's not going to let that stop her from being a good parent. What happens when a town turns transparent overnight? Do people run away just because they're basically naked? No. What would you do if your perfect man was jailed for being happy? What would you do if you had words on your forehead? You'd use it to your advantage, that's what! How does a couple manage their differences over bananas? They freak out, and then they laugh. Do you have a better idea?
Visit Crane's website and her blog.

Writers Read: Elizabeth Crane.

--Marshal Zeringue