‘A big, glorious novel in every sense, this sprawling family saga…is a funny and big-hearted epic from a seriously gifted wordsmith’
Read the sweeping and enchanting new novel from the author of The Giant’s House
Bertha is an enigma to everyone in Salford, Massachusetts – ever since she was discovered unconscious in a New England cemetery with nothing but a bowling ball, a candlepin and fifteen pounds of gold on her person. She has no past to speak of, and her mysterious origin scandalises the townspeople, as does her choice to marry and start a family with Leviticus Sprague, the doctor who revived her.
But Bertha is plucky and entrepreneurial, and the bowling alley she opens quickly becomes Salford’s most defining landmark. As she changes the town forever, her singular spirit resonating through every board and brick and bone, an epic family saga unfolds, set against the backdrop of twentieth-century America.
"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."
"A big, glorious novel in every sense, this sprawling family saga… is a funny and big-hearted epic from a seriously gifted wordsmith."
"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."
"[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."
"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."