cover image Look Alive Out There: Essays

Look Alive Out There: Essays

Sloane Crosley. MCD, $26 (256p) ISBN 978-0-374-27984-4

Crosley (The Clasp), in her third collection of personal essays, continues her tradition of hilarious insight into the human condition, whether the human involved is scaling a 20,000-foot volcano in Ecuador or inadvertently flirting with a drugstore cashier. Several essays are concerned with the tensions that arise in urban life. In “Outside Voices,” the author tries to quiet a teenage neighbor’s nightly carousing without become crotchety and square in the process (“I bit the bullet and called 311, a placebo service for cranks on the brink”). “Wolf” involves a literal identity crisis as Crosley contends with a man holding her internet domain name hostage. “Cinema of the Confined” finds the author battling an extended bout of vertigo and drawing astute comparisons between travel writing and writing about illness. But as the dizziness is revealed to be a symptom of a rare and largely untreatable condition, the connection becomes fraught: “This was not some exotic destination that I would one day leave and report back on. This was my home now.” Crosley is exceedingly clever and has a witticism for all occasions, but it is her willingness to confront some of life’s darker corners with honesty and vulnerability that elevates this collection. Agent: [em]Jay Mandel, William Morris Endeavor. (Apr.) [/em]