The Souvenir Museum

Elizabeth McCracken. Ecco, $26.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-06-297128-9
McCracken’s sly, emotionally complex collection (after Bowlaway) focuses on characters uprooted from their usual surroundings. In “The Irish Wedding,” Jack Valerts brings his new love, Sadie Brody, from Boston to Ireland to meet his family at the wedding of his older sister, where Sadie confronts for the first time the slapstick and sometimes threatening dynamics of the Valerts while holding her own with a quick wit. “Miss Mickle All at Sea” follows the increasingly fraught mental state of an actor known for playing the villain on a children’s show as she travels from Amsterdam, where she’s been celebrating New Year’s Eve, back to England, in the company of an elderly balloon animal artist. In “Robinson Crusoe at the Waterpark,” four-year-old Cody’s two fathers take him to a German-themed water park in Galveston, Tex., where older father Bruno’s fear of drowning comically affects his negotiation of a wave pool. McCracken has a gift for surprising similes—“shoes damp as oysters”; “bored lifeguards, staring like unemployed goats”—that ignite the reader’s imagination, making great fun out of ordinary settings and scenery. Each story opens to reveal a whole life spent within the web of a family, chosen or not. Full of gems, this collection is a winner. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 10/22/2020
Release date: 04/13/2021
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 256 pages - 978-0-06-297126-5
Paperback - 978-0-06-306316-7
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