Bowlaway by Elizabeth McCracken, review by Shirley Wells
Part mystery, part dysfunctional family, part magical realism...Bowlaway is a fractured fairy tale with all the warmth, humor, and quirkiness that entails.
Bertha Truitt's arrival in turn-of-the-century Salford, Massachusetts, is a mystery. She's discovered unconscious in a cemetery with only a bowling ball, candlepin, and fifteen pounds of gold in her possession. The citizens soon learn that with Bertha, there is no explaining--either her past or her present. No one knows where she's come from or why she's landed in their small New England town. She marries the doctor who revives her, employs the young man who discovers her, and builds the bowling alley around which this novel revolves. But it doesn't end there. Bertha Truitt's past and present go on to influence the town and its residents for generations to come.
With her intensely poetic metaphors and exuberantly weird and wonderful characters and plot lines, McCracken again proves herself a masterful storyteller. We've waited eighteen years for this one...and it's worth it!