Ron Charles on Elizabeth McCracken’s ‘Bowlaway’

It’s been 18 years since Elizabeth McCracken’s last novel.
‘Bowlaway’ was worth the wait.

By Ron Charles

Who could walk away from this opening line?

“They found a body in the Salford Cemetery, but aboveground and alive.”

It sounds like the start of some gruesome murder mystery, but then the wackiness worms in: “The gladstone bag beside her contained one abandoned corset, one small bowling ball, one slender candlepin, and, under a false bottom, fifteen pounds of gold.”

Death and life, frosted with macabre comedy: It’s why we’ve enjoyed Elizabeth McCracken since her debut novel, “The Giant’s House,” appeared more than 20 years ago. She never promises us freedom from pain, but she always offers just enough heart to endure it. Read the full review at The Washington Post.

Elizabeth McCracken has been a Literary Affairs favorite since The Giant’s House written in 1996. Bowlaway is currently one of our Book Club selections. Read more about it and our other selections by visiting our Books in the Bag page.

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