Thunderstruck & Other Stories
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WINNER OF THE STORY PRIZE • LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD • NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NEWSDAY
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
The Washington Post • San Francisco Chronicle • O: The Oprah Magazine • The Miami Herald • Publishers Weekly • Kirkus Reviews
From the author of the beloved novel The Giant’s House—finalist for the National Book Award—comes a beautiful new story collection, her first in twenty years. Laced through with the humor, the empathy, and the rare and magical descriptive powers that have led Elizabeth McCracken’s fiction to be hailed as “exquisite” (The New York Times Book Review), “funny and heartbreaking” (The Boston Globe), and “a true marvel” (San Francisco Chronicle), these nine vibrant stories navigate the fragile space between love and loneliness. In “Property,” selected by Geraldine Brooks for The Best American Short Stories, a young scholar, grieving the sudden death of his wife, decides to refurbish the Maine rental house they were to share together by removing his landlord’s possessions. In “Peter Elroy: A Documentary by Ian Casey,” the household of a successful filmmaker is visited years later by his famous first subject, whose trust he betrayed. In “The Lost & Found Department of Greater Boston,” the manager of a grocery store becomes fixated on the famous case of a missing local woman, and on the fate of the teenage son she left behind. And in the unforgettable title story, a family makes a quixotic decision to flee to Paris for a summer, only to find their lives altered in an unimaginable way by their teenage daughter’s risky behavior.
In Elizabeth McCracken’s universe, heartache is always interwoven with strange, charmed moments of joy—an unexpected conversation with small children, the gift of a parrot with a bad French accent—that remind us of the wonder and mystery of being alive. Thunderstruck & Other Stories shows this inimitable writer working at the full height of her powers.
Praise for Thunderstruck & Other Stories
“Restorative, unforgettable . . . a powerful testament to the scratchy humor and warm intelligence of McCracken’s writing.”—Sylvia Brownrigg, The New York Times Book Review (Editor’s Choice)
“[A] bewitching and wise collection . . . playful, even joyful.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
“Stunningly beautiful . . . brilliantly moving . . . Moments of joy and pure magic flicker and pitch-perfect humor acts as a furtive SOS signal through the fog of loss.”—Los Angeles Times
“Each of Thunderstruck’s nine stories is a storm: delightful and destructive, packed with electricity, fascinating to watch unfold.”—Salon
“The stories here are brilliant, funny and heartbreaking. . . . Elizabeth McCracken is a national treasure.”—Paul Harding, The Wall Street Journal
“Pure delight: one lyrical, impeccably constructed sentence after another.”—Chicago Tribune
“Beautifully wrought . . . As painstaking as a watchmaker, McCracken disassembles life down to its smallest parts.”—The Boston Globe
“The psychological punches McCracken delivers, with her keen sense of irony and mordant humor, are unforgettable.”—The Miami Herald
From the Hardcover edition.