Elizabeth McCracken is the author of seven books, including The Souvenir Museum, Bowlaway, Thunderstruck & Other Stories, and The Giant’s House (a National Book Award finalist and one of my favorite novels of all time). Her stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories, won three Pushcart Prizes, a National Magazine Award, and an O. Henry Prize. She has served on the faculty at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and currently holds the James Michener Chair for Fiction at the University of Texas at Austin.This Episode's Sponsors:Talkspace: Get $100 off your first month with Talkspace. Visit talkspace.com and use promo code MARISREVIEW.Indeed: At Indeed.com/maris, get a $75 credit. Offer valid through JUNE 30TH. Terms and conditions apply. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Elizabeth McCracken is the author of seven books: Here’s Your Hat What’s Your Hurry, The Giant’s House, Niagara Falls All Over Again, An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination, Thunderstruck & Other Stories, Bowlaway, and her new short story collection, The Souvenir Museum. She’s received grants and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Liguria Study Center, the American Academy in Berlin, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Thunderstruck & Other Stories won the 2015 Story Prize. Her work has been published in The Best American Short Stories, The Pushcart Prize, The O. Henry Prize, The New York Times Magazine, and many other places. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Elizabeth McCracken, "BOWLAWAY" w/ Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
Skylight Books Podcast Series
From the day she is discovered unconscious in a New England cemetery at the turn of the twentieth century—nothing but a bowling ball, a candlepin, and fifteen pounds of gold on her person—Bertha Truitt is an enigma to everyone in Salford, Massachusetts. She has no past to speak of, or at least none she is willing to reveal, and her mysterious origin scandalizes and intrigues the townspeople, as does her choice to marry and start a family with Leviticus Sprague, the doctor who revived her. But Bertha is plucky, tenacious, and entrepreneurial, and the bowling alley she opens quickly becomes Salford’s most defining landmark—with Bertha its most notable resident. When Bertha dies in a freak accident, her past resurfaces in the form of a heretofore-unheard-of son, who arrives in Salford claiming he is heir apparent to Truitt Alleys. Soon it becomes clear that, even in her death, Bertha’s defining spirit and the implications of her obfuscations live on, infecting and affecting future generations through inheritance battles, murky paternities, and hidden wills. In a voice laced with insight and her signature sharp humor, Elizabeth McCracken has written an epic family saga set against the backdrop of twentieth-century America. Bowlaway is both a stunning feat of language and a brilliant unraveling of a family’s myths and secrets, its passions and betrayals, and the ties that bind and the rifts that divide. McCracken is joined in conversation by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, author of The Nest.
In Elizabeth McCracken’s latest novel, a woman seemingly drops from the sky (she’s discovered in a cemetery, with a bowling ball, a candlepin, and fifteen pounds of gold nearby). On this week’s episode, McCracken drops by the recording studio to discuss Bowlaway, the story of three generations of alley owners in a small Massachusetts town, and touches on genealogy, the Great Molasses Flood of 1919, and nearly life-sized, fully articulated wooden women, in fiction and the home. And our editors join with their top picks in books this week.
Elizabeth McCracken is the guest. Her latest book is a story collection called Thunderstruck & Other Stories, and it is available now from The Dial Press.The New York Times Book Review says“Elizabeth McCracken knows how loss can melt reality, forever altering a person’s sense of time....In her new collection, McCracken gives brilliantly splintered life to just that kind of story....The fact that there is nothing depressing about the ubiquity of accident and disaster in Thunderstruck & Other Stories is a powerful testament to the scratchy humor and warm intelligence of McCracken’s writing....Her wisdom and wit have a moral dimension that deepens our sympathy for her straying souls.... [A] restorative, unforgettable collection.”And Nick Hornby says“Elizabeth McCracken is one of my favorite writers. Or, to put it another way: I’ve read everything she’s written...and there’s nothing I haven’t liked and admired enormously...She writes with acuity, soul, and a kind of easy grace that probably kills her, about characters she has created to love.... Thunderstruck showcases all the things this remarkable writer is so good at: the eccentric but illuminating metaphors, the deft characterization, the heart-lurching narrative development, the tenderness, the fantastic aphorisms....Anything new by her is an excuse for wild, drunken celebration.”Monologue topics: mail, Christianity, Jesus, God, confusion. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Aug. 30, 2014. Elizabeth McCracken appears at the 2014 Library of Congress National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. Speaker Biography: Elizabeth McCracken earned a B.A. and an M.A. in English from Boston University, an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa and an M.S. in library science from Drexel University, and she is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. McCracken has also received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. A former public librarian and current faculty member at the University of Texas at Austin, McCracken's extensive education in writing has led her to write five acclaimed books, including "An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination," "The Giant's House," "Here's Your Hat What's Your Hurry," and "Niagara Falls All Over Again." Her latest work, "Thunderstruck and Other Stories" (Dial Press), includes nine mesmerizing tales that deal with death, tragedy, darkness and the fragile space between love and loneliness. For transcript, captions, and more information, visit http://www.loc.gov/today/cyberlc/feature_wdesc.php?rec=6448