Thursday, August 21, 2014
Book Review: "Thunderstruck & Other Stories" by Elizabeth McCracken
Some of my favorites in this collection are: "Juliet," which tells the story of a community rocked by a murder, as narrated by staff from the library, who knew both the victim and the alleged murderer; "Property," about a young widower who moves into a dilapidated rental home and finds himself confronted by the detritus the landlord left behind; "The Lost & Found Department of Greater Boston," told by the manager of a local grocery store, who feels a vested interest in the life of the teenage son of a missing woman; "Hungry," about a woman dealing with a dying son, an angry daughter, and a granddaughter who won't stop eating; and the title story (which is probably my favorite), about a family that flees to Paris in an attempt to curb their teenage daughter's rebellious behavior, and finds themselves affected in ways they could never imagine.
It has been a while since I've read one of McCracken's books, although I remember how much I enjoyed the wonderful The Giant's House a number of years ago, but I remember how much I love her storytelling skills. The stories in this collection hooked me pretty quickly, and left me thinking about them even as I went on to the next one. And even now, a few days after I've finished the collection, some of the storiesparticularly the ones I've named abovehave me wondering what happened to the characters when the stories ended.
If you're a short story fan, pick up Thunderstruck & Other Stories. The stories themselves might not make you joyful, but McCracken's writing certainly will.