“Thunderstruck and Other Stories,” a Collection That Looks at the Competing Emotions of Love and Loneliness
Elizabeth McCracken’s exquisite collection of short stories explores the often-fragile bond between love and loneliness. In each short story, McCracken meshes heartache with strange moments of joy that intermingle to form a delightful read. Whether her characters have random conversations with strange children or encounter a parrot that can speak in a laughably bad French accent, each story reminds you just how wonderful and mysterious life can be and allows us to be thankful that we are alive to experience it.
“Thunderstruck,” for example, follows a family who makes a spur-of-the-moment decision to flee to Paris for one summer, only to have their lives turned upside down by the actions of their teenaged daughter, while “Peter Elroy” looks at a successful filmmaker who gets a surprise visit many years later from his very famous first subject. Meanwhile, “The Lost and Found Department of Greater Boston,” a grocery store manager finds himself becoming more and more obsessed with an infamous case of a missing local woman and the teenaged son that she left behind when she disappeared.
For those looking for a quick novel to breeze through, McCracken’s short stories will keep you on your toes as you sate yourself on the excess of heartbreaking raw human emotion and witty sense of humor that is present on every page.