Reviews

  • "McCracken is a firecracker stylist and every sentence, every image, is crafted for physical impact… It is exuberant, a bit bonkers and raw and unflinching. It will find a great many fans – and no doubt some awards, too."

    Lucy Atkins, Sunday Times
  • "A big, glorious novel in every sense, this sprawling family saga… is a funny and big-hearted epic from a seriously gifted wordsmith."

    Samantha Irby, Marie Claire
  • "McCracken’s rambunctious saga [Bowlaway]… is a funhouse of a novel. Even the most incidental of characters are granted glorious vignettes… in [an] unpredictable and startling world."

    Wendy Erskine, Spectator
  • "[McCracken has] considerable gifts as a novelist [and] instinctive access to the most intricate threads of human thought and feeling... This novel’s cast grows epic, but McCracken is always most impressive when she works small, when she is describing movie kisses or corsets or simply loneliness and longing."

    New York Times
  • "Death and life, frosted with macabre comedy: it’s why we’ve enjoyed Elizabeth McCracken since her debut novel, The Giant’s House… nothing is ordinary in this story… There’s a wickedness to McCracken’s technique, the way she lures us in with her witty voice and oddball characters but then kicks the wind out of us… endlessly surprising."

    Ron Charles, Washington Post
  • "Bowlaway is that most improbable of literary phenomena: a buoyant, joyful, rollicking yarn of sadness and loss... McCracken’s gloriously vibrant and boisterously surprising narrative voice is one of the great triumphs of Bowlaway... A tour de force."

    Boston Globe
  • "Wildly entertaining... [A] wonderfully unpredictable multi-generational saga which revolves around a Massachusetts bowling alley... Bowlaway celebrates the oddest of oddballs and the freakiest of freak accidents with wit and heart. To read McCracken’s inimitably clever sentences and follow her quirky narrative twists is to be constantly delighted."

    NPR
  • "Irresistibly quirky… Packed with Dickensian characters and plot devices (orphans, secret wills, hidden treasure…), [Bowlaway is] lyrical and humorous, with some dazzlingly inventive twists. A family saga unlike any other."

    Hephzibah Anderson, Mail on Sunday
  • "McCracken’s imaginative reserves and her delight in outlandish events make [Bowlaway]… a kind of fable – a colourful and often captivating fantasia on New England themes."

    New Yorker
  • "McCracken’s newest novel, a 20th-century family epic centered on candlepin bowling, is populated by strange, excellent characters, and unfolds with all the offbeat coziness and heartache of a great American fable: molasses floods, workplace fires, surprising heirs, and all."

    Vanity Fair