Washington Post Reviews “The Hero Of This Book”

‘The Hero of This Book’ defies description. Just read it.

By Allison Larkin

I loved Elizabeth McCracken’s new novel, “The Hero of This Book,” and hate to deprive people of the chance to dive unknowingly into something wonderful. So feel free to stop here and pretend I am pressing the slim hardcover into your hands, saying, “Don’t look at the jacket copy; just read.”

If you’re the sort who needs more information to commit, I will warn you that the book is hard to categorize. It doesn’t have a splashy hook, and it purposefully defies genre. Page by page, it’s the quiet story of an adult child mourning a parent. As a whole, it’s a map of how to love someone.

Told partly as travelogue, partly through memories laden with family lore, “The Hero of This Book” begins with our narrator’s trip to London in the summer of 2019, 10 months after her mother’s death. While settling in at a hotel, she checks her email and finds the listing link for her childhood home in Massachusetts, which has just been emptied of her parents’ belongings — sold by an estate service — and put on the market. She doesn’t want to look. Sightseeing provides distraction and remembrance in unequal parts. Read the full review at the Washington Post.

© Literary Affairs, 2005-2023. All Rights Reserved.