cover image We Only Know So Much

We Only Know So Much

Elizabeth Crane. Harper Perennial, $14.99 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-209947-1

At the heart of the dysfunctional Copland family, in Crane’s debut novel (after You Must Be This Happy to Enter, her third short story collection), is bookish wife and mother Jean, embroiled in an affair with a suicidal lover. Her husband, Gordon, remains oblivious, too busy worrying that he’s lost his mind after a run-in with an ex-girlfriend he doesn’t even remember. Their daughter, Priscilla, is a fashionista desperate to become a reality TV star, while their nine-year-old son, Otis, has fallen in love for the very first time. Gordon’s father is struggling with a Parkinson’s diagnosis, and family matriarch, Vivian, is determined to overcome long-held fears. Crane’s novel is filled with deliciously idiosyncratic characters, humorous and distinct narration, and a whole lot of personality. Each character’s emotional growth is just enough to satisfy, without being overbearing. And while a family overview at the start makes for a tricky entrée, Crane’s summer novel has undeniable heart. Agent: Alice Tasman, Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency. (June)