Bowlaway (McCracken) - Book Reviews

Book Reviews
[The novel] sometimes seems to want to drift off, like a hot-air balloon, into an ionospheric layer of pure twinkle and whimsy.… McCracken in Bowlaway comes close to writing caricatures instead of characters. That this ambitious novel nearly works is a testament to her considerable gifts as a novelist, her instinctive access to the most intricate threads of human thought and feeling.
Dwight Garner - New York Times

Death and life, frosted with macabre comedy.… [McCracken] lures us in with her witty voice and oddball characters but then kicks the wind out of us. She never misses the infamous 7-10 split, managing to hit Annie Proulx and Anne Tyler with the same ball.… Endlessly surprising.
Ron Charles - Washington Post

Reading Elizabeth McCracken—the gorgeously-put-together sentences parading the pages like models on a Paris runway; the crazy, original insights; the definitive, wholly fictional pronouncements—is like going on an automotive safari.… I could not stop reading.

Loss and love revolve around a bowling alley established at the turn of the 20th century in a Massachusetts village by a woman who seems to have fallen from the sky in this quirky epic about family and fate.
Boston Globe

Elizabeth McCracken is just a delicious writer. This is a book that’s quirky, it’s a book that’s heartfelt.… She’s able to come up with these outlandishly wonderful situations and make it seem not only real, but that you’re going through these experiences with them.

At the turn of the 20th century a woman is discovered unconscious and nearly frozen in a New England cemetery with only a bowling ball, a candlepin, and 15 pounds of gold on her. The National Book Award finalist’s exuberantly weird and wonderful book unravels the mystery.
Oprah Magazine

The brilliantly witty writer returns with her first novel in 18 years, an incisive and generous portrait of a New England clan who operate a candlepin bowling alley.
Entertainment Weekly

In an enthralling, magical story that spans generations, award-winning writer McCracken imbues a candlepin alley with the ability to bowl over sexism.
Ms. Magazine

(Starred review) [S]tellar…. McCracken writes with a natural lyricism that sports vivid imagery and delightful turns of phrase. Her distinct humor enlivens the many plot twists that propel the narrative, making for a novel readers will sink into and savor.
Publishers Weekly

(Starred review) McCracken has one of the more distinctive literary sensibilities readers will likely encounter; playful, inventive, and fearless, she's drawn to oddball characters and the eccentric fringes of American family life. —Patrick Sullivan, Manchester Community Coll., CT
Library Journal

(Starred review) McCracken writes with exuberant precision, ingenious lyricism, satirical humor, and warmhearted mischief and delight.… [A]compassionate and rambunctious saga about love, grief, prejudice, and the courage to be one’s self.

(Starred review) Parents and children, lovers, brothers and sisters, estranged spouses, work friends and teammates all slam themselves together and fling themselves apart across the decades in the glorious clatter of McCracken's unconventional storytelling.
Kirkus Reviews

(Starred review) To tell a good tale, you need drama—and in this area, Bowlaway spares no expense.… McCracken’s prose is well-tooled, hilarious and tender, thoughtful and jocular. Her characters inhabit their world so completely, so bodily, that they could’ve truly existed.

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