All This Heavenly Glory
Little, Brown & Co., 2005 (2005)
Read an Excerpt
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
lizabeth Crane's short stories alternate between a child's wary negotiation of the traps and pitfalls (including divorced parents, sexual predators, and friends who inappropriately decorate their dolls) of New York daily life, with a young woman's equally wary negotiation of the older equivalents (including sexual predators and quirky peer relationships). As I read, I wondered how much of the life of Charlotte Anne Byers reflects the author's own experiences.
n the same stream of consciousness style as Crane presented in
When the Messenger is Hot
, she shares with us all the absurdities of relationships, beginning with the wordiest personal ad imaginable, one that is devastatingly frank. It begins '
SWF, above average on a really good day, on a bad day still fairly cute ...
' and goes on for ten pages (the resumé tucked in the middle is hilarious). That's followed by a view of Charlotte Anne as a precocious child opera singer ('
'), preoccupied as much by a chocolate mint melting into her costume as by her crush on Dane DiMedici.
here's a slimy encounter with '
Howard the Filmmaker
' for a grown-up (alcohol abusing) Charlotte Anne (who eventually morphs into
), and a series of weird New York play dates for the child - one friend has a physically abusive stepfather, while another dad might be a pedophile. '
About the Dime
' presents the point of view of a child of divorced parents. There are a bunch of potential boyfriend stories, including '
a lengthy insane boyfriend story
', as well as the endearingly honest history of Charlie's
with Jenna Ritter that began in seventh grade.
ere's one from the title story that says a lot about Charlie's character and Crane's writing - '
I need one more male friend I've dated who eventually tells me about all the other women he loves like I need a spike through my skull.
' Covering 9/11 along the way ('
Go back to being exactly the same as before, only different
'), the collection ends on an upbeat note with the nostalgic '
' - '
In my next life I want to accept things as they are and when people ask why I want to say what do you mean why and when everyone comes back for homecoming I want to already be home.
ll This Heavenly Glory
is an engagingly vulnerable, lightly punctuated monologue on childhood and adult relationships and fantasies - a creative commentary on the ups and downs of life.
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