Monday, June 18, 2012

"We Only Know So Much"

Elizabeth Crane is the author of the story collections When the Messenger Is Hot, All This Heavenly Glory, and You Must Be This Happy to Enter.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, We Only Know So Much, and reported the following:
I had a feeling that any random page of the book would be both representative of the book, but that more than likely it would only focus on one of the six main characters in the book; most of the chapters focus in closely on one character, though there are a number of scenes where the whole Copeland family is gathered (and hilarity, of course, ensues). You wouldn’t get any sense of the rest of the family drama from this scene, but it’s a page I actually have bookmarked for readings, so there’s that.

On page 69, Priscilla, the nineteen-year-old bitchy fashionista daughter is in the middle of an interview for a new reality show. She’s struggling to come up with the right answers, and it does speak to the core of her issue: at this point, she doesn’t really know where she’s going in life.
What are you studying?

I haven’t picked a major. I’m thinking about dropping out.
Priscilla actually thinks this is a right answer, that her willingness to drop out is a sign of her commitment to being on a reality show.

More expressionless nods and note-taking from the panel, nods that Priscilla can not read, so many freaking blank freaking nods. So she covers, just in case.

Well, I mean, but maybe not. I don’t know.

Name three of your favorite hobbies.

What do you mean, like, stamp collecting or something?

Yeah, like that.

Priscilla thinks hard. She definitely has no hobbies. Is texting a hobby?

Not really...



Oh, okay ... what about reading magazines? Priscilla loves magazines, has an expanding file full of pages she’s torn out with outfits she admired, and a separate folder for accessories. She’s never thought of this as a hobby. She’d started it as an idea file. Ideas for what, she’d always been unsure of. She reads everything from InTouch to Elle to Teen Vogue. It fits in her purse. She almost says this.

No, more like—maybe games you like, or keeping a journal or something?

No, not really, I guess. Priscilla is getting worried now. This is not going well. Why does it suddenly seem like she has no life? She’s never thought that before.
Learn more about the book and author at Elizabeth Crane's website.

Writers Read: Elizabeth Crane (April 2008).

--Marshal Zeringue