Bowlaway: A Novel

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No one knows what to make of Bertha Truitt, found unconscious in a Salford, Massachusetts, cemetery. She’s carrying fifteen pounds of gold, along with a bowling ball and a unique kind of bowling pin called a candlepin and she wastes no time claiming that she herself invented the game of candlepin bowling. In short order, she builds a candlepin bowling alley called Bowlaway and becomes a fixture in town, a guardian of sorts to the misfits she employs. She bucks tradition and welcomes women bowlers, and courts controversy by marrying an African-American doctor named Leviticus Sprague. She and Leviticus live happily enough in an octagon-shaped house of her own design until a freak accident kills her. Without Bertha, Bowlaway changes hands generation after generation, never fully giving up its secrets, never allowing anyone to fully claim it for his or her own.

McCracken can write a misfit, as lovers of The Giant’s House well know, and her characters are full of life, heart, and bluster. The lost souls who walk through Bowlaway’s doors are tormented, the consequences of their misplaced passions often grotesque. Genuine belonging and perfectly requited love are as elusive as a perfect game of candlepin. Though no one ever quite recovers from Bertha’s sudden death, her family and familiars keep her soul alive in Bowlaway–and it is this small slice of the world that comes alive in this odd, lovely novel.


Reviewed By:

Author Elizabeth McCracken
Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 384 pages
Publisher Ecco
Publish Date 2019-02-05
ISBN 9780062862853
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue Mar-19
Category Popular Fiction
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