cover image You Must Be This Happy to Enter

You Must Be This Happy to Enter

Elizabeth Crane, . . Akashic/Punk Planet, $14.95 (183pp) ISBN 978-1-933354-43-9

The two most successful stories of Crane’s third collection (following All This Heavenly Glory) are also the most intimate: “The Most Everything in the World” listens in on a husband and wife playing the what-would-you-take-to-a-deserted-island game, while “Donovan’s Closet,” about a girl with a fetish involving her boyfriend’s lemon-scented closet, turns into an optimistic tale of a seemingly doomed relationship’s survival. Other characters in Crane’s lineup include a suburban zombie turned reality TV star (“Betty the Zombie”), a time-traveling photographer who gets arrested for being happy (the title story) and a handful of other victims and survivors of not-so-everyday life. Because of Crane’s repetitive narration the book is best read piecemeal rather than straight through: “I don’t mean literally everything. Literally most things, but not everything.” In “Promise,” a story about a woman waiting for the arrival of her adopted child, which closes the collection, Crane quips, “I will feed you sugar.” And that might as well be Crane’s promise for the collection as a whole. (Feb.)