04 August 2007

Here's Your Hat, What's Your Hurry?

Elizabeth McCracken, author of two fine novels (The Giant's House and Niagara Falls All Over Again), first brought out this collection of short stories in 1993. Like her novels, the stories could easily be called charming and quirky; they typically center on people who--when they love--love for good; the stories also spend a lot of time considering guilelessness.

Apparent guilelessness is in part what gives the stories their charm: stories like "The Goings-On of the World," in which the second sentence reads, "One morning in the last week of May, I got up, got dressed, and killed my wife." You have to read it a few times to make sure you read right. Another, one of my favorites, "Some Have Entertained Angels, Unaware," begins, "My parents were not handy people." From that simple beginning sprouts a story of love, grief, abandonment, love, survival, and love again.

Highly recommended.

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