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May 16, 2012

Cara Hoffman: Reading Books by Elizabeth Hand

Posted by tbrmaureen


Cara Hoffman is the author of SO MUCH PRETTY, a haunting novel about the disappearance and murder of a teenager in a rural town in upstate New York. Here she shares her passion for the novels by Elizabeth Hand, and how after reading them they stay with her.

I can’t stop talking about Elizabeth Hand because she is a genius.

I adore her writing. I want to drive to Maine and sleep in her front yard on a bed of moss surrounded by flowers and insects that defy classification.

It’s not often an author can make you want to smoke crystal meth, trek through a blizzard in cowboy boots and witness a murder. Elizabeth Hand has those kinds of powers.

Also the power to make you feel that the inspired fairyland beneath her prose is real and you can get to it through various trapdoors in your own home.

Her novels GENERATION LOSS and AVAILABLE DARK are incredible, horrifying beautiful works. I do love that my neighborhood is the stomping ground for her aging East Village punk rock protagonist Cass Neary. Cass is unrelentingly and unrepentantly screwed up, but she can summon light and beauty from the darkness.  Hand’s ILLYRIA and MORTAL LOVE are deeply strange and moving novels, a kind of controlled lunacy is at the heart of the work.

Her ability to give the reader a sense of deep connection and fated experience is remarkable. I walked around for days after reading Illyria and Mortal Love feeling like I had seen through a crack in the fabric of the universe.

And she’s funny! She’s really funny. You can’t write this kind of stuff without a sense of humor.

Go buy all her novels now!