January 17, 2013

Book review: "We Only Know So Much," by Elizabeth Crane

(CCLaP publishes mini-reviews of both books and movies on a regular basis, none lasting more than a few hundred words. A full list of CCLaP's book-based mini-reviews can be found on its main book page, and movies on the main movie page.)

We Only Know So Much, by Elizabeth Crane

We Only Know So Much
By Elizabeth Crane
Harper Perennial

Former Chicagoan Elizabeth Crane is just a little too good a personal friend for me to claim I could do an "objective" review of her newest book, last year's We Only Know So Much (BONUS: Listen to my 2007 podcast interview with Crane); but I wanted to get a mention of it up here anyway because I enjoyed it so much, another solid winner in what's always a delightful career. A contemporary human-interest dramedy firmly in the Franzen dysfunctional-family vein, the story is peopled with more eccentric weirdos than a Wes Anderson film -- the wife having an affair with a guy who then dies, the husband obsessed with getting Alzheimer's, the vapid daughter, the nerdy son, the senile grandfather and the pissy 98-year-old great-grandmother -- and Crane builds an interesting, event-filled plot for all of them to go through, the kind of entertaining and charming novel that sleeper low-budget Hollywood hits get adapted from. Given that Crane is mostly known at this point for her short stories, I love seeing her expand here into full novel territory, and this quiet yet sophisticated tale is sure to strike a chord with fans of Jennifer Egan and the like.

Out of 10: N/A

Filed by Jason Pettus at 7:05 AM, January 17, 2013. Filed under: Literature | Literature:Fiction | Reviews |