Sloane Crosley is best known for her quietly hilarious personal essays, collected in two best-selling books, “How Did You Get this Number” and “I Was Told There’d Be Cake.” With her newest work “The Clasp,” Crosley is venturing into new territory: fiction. The novel, inspired by Guy de Maupassant’s short story, “The Necklace” is a love-triangle-comedy-of-manners told in Crosley’s signature irreverent style.
The phenomenal success of David Foster Wallace, Jonathan Franzen and Donna Tartt tempts us to believe that readers of literary fiction crave long novels, but that bit of magical thinking works only for long novels that succeed. After all, Bob Shacochis’s spectacular “Woman Who Lost Her Soul” clocked in at 715 pages and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, but how many people actually read it?
Almost eight years ago, when we were in the middle of another presidential campaign and the Iraq war was grinding on, the old Book World supplement in The Washington Post published one of its most striking covers. It was April 20, 2008. The page was filled with a black-and-white photo by Andrea Bruce showing a scene of absolute devastation in Iraq.