Author Reading: Elizabeth Crane, THE HISTORY OF GREAT THINGS

Come discover Elizabeth Crane's witty and irresistible story of a mother and daughter regarding each other through the looking glass of time, grief, and forgiveness.

In two beautifully counterpoised narratives, two women—mother and daughter—try to make sense of their own lives by revisiting what they know about each other. The History of Great Things tells the entwined stories of Lois, a daughter of the Depression Midwest who came to New York to transform herself into an opera star, and her daughter, Elizabeth, an aspiring writer who came of age in the 1970s and ’80s in the forbidding shadow of her often-absent, always larger-than-life mother. In a tour de force of storytelling and human empathy, Elizabeth chronicles the events of her mother’s life, and in turn Lois recounts her daughter’s story—pulling back the curtain on lifelong secrets, challenging and interrupting each other, defending their own behavior, brandishing or swallowing their pride, and, ultimately, coming to understand each other in a way that feels both extraordinary and universal.

The History of Great Things is a novel about a mother and daughter who are intimately connected and not connected enough; it will make readers laugh and cry and wonder how we become the adults we always knew we should—even if we’re not always adults our parents understand.

Elizabeth Crane is the author of the novel We Only Know So Much, and three collections of short stories: When the Messenger is Hot, All this Heavenly Glory, and You Must Be This Happy to Enter. Her Stories have been featured on NPR’s Selected Shorts. She is a recipient of the Chicago Public Library 21st Century Award, and her word has been adapted for the stage by Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater Company, and also been adapted for film. She teaches in the UCR-Palm Desert low-residency MFA program and lives in New York City with her husband, Ben Brandt, and dog, Percy.


Event date: 
Monday, February 22, 2016 - 8:30pm
Event address: 
Staff Pick Badge
The History of Great Things: A Novel By Elizabeth Crane Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062412676
Published: Harper Perennial - April 5th, 2016

We Only Know So Much: A Novel By Elizabeth Crane Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062099471
Published: Harper Perennial - June 12th, 2012