Errantry: Strange Stories by Elizabeth Hand
Trade paperback format. Highly recommended! A collection of great short stories by one of my favorite authors, who also happens to live here in Maine. Few are able to wordcraft the way Liz can. Enjoy her magic!
Shirley Jackson Award finalist.
“Near Zennor” is a Shirley Jackson Award winner.
No one is innocent, no one unexamined in Shirley Jackson award-winning author Elizabeth Hand’s new collection of stories. From the mysterious people next door to the odd guy in the next office over, Hand teases apart the dark strangenesses of everyday life to show us the impossibilities, broken dreams, and improbable dreams that surely can never come true.
“At her best, Hand does just this: We find ourselves wrapped in an evocation without knowing fully how she got us there, shivering with fear at an image of lights or blinking with awe at the modest beauty of a small, rare creature living its life, seen from a distance.”
—Aimee Bender, Washington Post
“With grand feeling and inventiveness, Hand writes of modern life edging just into the impossible. Her ragged modern characters, often lost or stoned or just unfixed in their lives, set out over moors or into hidden parks in search of realities less dispiriting than our own.”
“As I was reading Errantry: Strange Stories, the phone rang. I answered it and whispered ‘Hello?’
“‘Why are you whispering?’ asked my friend.
“‘I’m reading this really bizarre book of short stories,’ I said. That was my short answer. But the long answer is this: I’m whispering because as I was reading Hand’s stories in my quiet house on a cold December day, the threads of my reality frayed a bit along the edges and it would take more than a telephone’s ring for me to pull myself back together. I’m whispering because I’m scared to disturb the intricate and delicate worlds that Hand has created in this collection of stories that alternately draw me in and scare me away.”
—Meganne Fabrega, Minneapolis Star-Tribune
I thought of this tendency a lot when reading Elizabeth Hand’s collection Errantry: Strange Stories. Though I know that Hand’s background is in work that’s less overtly realistic, I know her best through her kinda-mystery Generation Loss, which is as much a meditation on art and the passage of time, and an evocative description of an isolated coastal town in Maine, as it is a book in which someone must solve something. What makes Hand’s collection notable are those moments where the fantastical (or at least the surreal) briefly collides with the mundane, but doesn’t necessarily lead to transcendence. A couple of the stories involve brief encounters with the strange, but it’s less about the existence of the supernatural than it is on the effects of having one’s worldview fundamentally altered. In the two stories that open the collection, “The Maiden Flight of McCauley’s Bellerophon” and “Near Zennor,” strange things occur, but they’re within the larger contexts of memory and grief, and they’re as difficult for their characters to put together as more earthly mysteries.”
— Tobias Carroll, Vol. 1 Brooklyn
“Hand’s strangeness is redolent of the sort of disturbing, uncanny children’s books that gave you nightmares at the age of nine (for me, Alan Garner): books with malevolent forces lurking under sunny hillsides, where adults aren’t going to save our heroes, and whose endings are staggeringly bleak.”
— Nic Clarke, Strange Horizons
“Hand’s stories here are more expansive, yet have that undercurrent of a formless force closing in, be it weather, or birds gathering in a falling evening sky.”
—Helen McCrory, Pank