An Electric Literature Best Short Story Collection of 2017
Through her three story collections and two novels, Elizabeth Crane’s singular literary vision has created worlds of characters standing boldly in the face of their complicated circumstances. Blazing through states, cities, towns, continents, Crane fearlessly pivots from micro to macro, humor to tragedy, past to present, mixing an off-kilter sensibility with a heartbreaking reality, guiding us into the fringed and often fantastical lives of her characters. And that has never been truer than in her new collection, Turf.
The end of the world as seen through a young couple in Brooklyn, who find a baby in a bucket on their front step; a group of geniuses who meet every Wednesday, able to unlock all the secrets of the universe except for the unknowable mystery of love; a woman and her dog walker whose friendship is uprooted by an incident at the park; these are dark, intriguing vistas explored in Crane’s glowing collection. For as places change, and people come and go, these stories in Turf remind us that it is the unchanging nature of the human heart that connects us all.
[Crane’s] stories are fun and bizarre and wonderful and so, so sneaky . . . The details in ’Mr. and Mrs. P Are Married’ are precise, every word and sentence and image in perfect placement . . . Elizabeth Crane mines the everyday and reveals what we’re missing. It’s unsettling. It’s hilarious. It’s . . . beyond. And you just know she’s having a great time, because suddenly you are, too.
Just when I think I understand the limits of the short story, what it can do, how it can make me feel, Elizabeth Crane shows up with something devastatingly new. The stories in Turf are astounding: funny and heartbreaking and sharp. When they cut, they cut deep.
This book takes the paint off the walls. These characters whisper. They linger. They won’t leave you alone. Turf is a masterpiece.
I will never not be marrow-thrilled at the thought of new stories from Elizabeth Crane, and throughout Turf, she is at her odd-funny, happy-sad best. The stories are clean, quick on their feet, shimmering with intelligence and wit, and—this is the most miraculous feat of all—they are high-hearted even as they turn to the darkest corners of the room.
These stories are infectious, funny, sharp, strange, and charming, all while slyly making you bear what you didn’t know you could bear about the deep, dark chasms and small miracles of being human.
Turf is as delightful as it is disconcerting. It’s like stumbling into your neighbor’s house and realizing it mirrors yours exactly. These stories are funny, sweet, strange, as familiar and comforting as your neighbor’s smile while she’s offering you tea from your own teapot.
Often witty, sometimes-disquieting short stories from chameleon stylist Crane.
[An] insightful collection of friendly, talkatively voiced stories . . . Another absorbing, imaginatively written, and inviting collection from Crane.
A daring piece of literature delicately teetering between story and observation . . . Crane demonstrates insight into our deepest fears and desires and what makes people tick.