In keeping with my promise to spend this week introducing you to my writer friends, let me present Sara Pritchard, author of Crackpots, Lately, and innumerable short stories. I am introducing you to Sara first for a number of reasons; she is a writer whose work I greatly admire, reading her work will make you a better reader, writer, and/or person, and it’s so close to Thanksgiving that a good chunk of my time the last–and next–few days must be devoted to preparing the meal. Thankfully, I can fall back on letting Craig Seligman of the New York Times do a good bit of the introducing for me. From his review of Crackpots:
As it happened, I read ”Crackpots” just after finishing a celebrated novel by a precocious young writer that had irritated me because, despite all the talent, it clobbered you with pathos and delivered wisdom that clearly came straight out of books. ”Crackpots” does the opposite. The writing is dazzling, yes, but Pritchard allows the pathos — and there’s a lot of it — to rise out of her sentences like a scent. You discover it instead of being pounded by it. The author’s work has gone into constructing sentences that would contain, not sell, the emotion behind them, and she’s in love with a whole range of feelings. In the middle of tragedy she makes you laugh out loud.
Sara writes sentences that I could reread every evening for the rest of my life and still find lovely. Her characters have an emotional depth that takes the reader beyond feeling that she knows them and into a place where she feels she has befriended them. It is impossible, for instance, to read “The Pink Hotel” from the short story collection Lately without wishing to invite not only the narrator, but also her pragmatic and seemingly unflappable Aunt Dizzy, for lunch. Sara writes with an intimacy that leaves the reader missing her characters when their stories are told, and happy when they sometimes reappear in other, linked pieces.
Tune in a few days from now (once the dishes are done and the leftovers safely tucked away in the fridge) to meet Ethel Morgan Smith.