This week, I’ve been joined by Louie Cronin, author of the new book Everyone Loves You Back. If you’re a fan of NPR’s “Car Talk,” Louie’s name might already be familiar to you, or perhaps you know of her from the many articles, essays, and short stories she has had published. I am delighted that Louie visited the blog this week to talk about her story and share some quotes from the book!
As well as Louie’s guest post and the book quotes being shared today and Friday, there is also a $25 Amazon gift card giveaway. You can enter this below and share the feature daily for extra entries until 20 November 2016.
Everyone Loves You Back: Book Quotes
Losing a Boston accent
“So I practiced at home. I stood in front of the mirror and pronounced my ‘R’s. Forty four. On the corner. Tomorrow morning. My mother said I sounded like a snob. The other kids made fun of me.” Now he slips in and out the accent… He’ll say entuhtainer or inspuhration. Or he’ll add an extra ‘R,’ pizzer instead of pizza. He avoids the word parka all together… Almost as bad as khaki.
Fall in Cambridge
It’s one of those beautiful New England fall days when the heat buzzes the air and the leaves are falling and everything is kind of hazy and orange. When he was little, the air would have smelled of burning leaves, but of course now burning them is illegal. He had loved wandering through Cambridge on those fall days, kicking his way down the brick sidewalks through piles of leaves, hunting for bright yellow ones, or red ones, or perfectly formed ones to bring into school, though he can’t imagine now that the nuns put up with much of that. He can’t remember any crafty nuns, any decorations in the schoolrooms at all, only the statues and the crucifixes and the cursive ABCs marching above the blackboard.
“I tried piano, when I was young.” He had taken a couple of piano lessons from one of the nuns, who hovered so close he could smell her talcum powder, and he would get distracted by the idea that nuns needed talcum powder, that they had bodies under those robes… And he would lose his place in the piece and wham! A ruler would come crashing down on his fingers. “Pay attention!”
She steps out of her pants and underwear. He shrugs his quickly to the ground, checking his back pocket to be sure the pack of condoms is still lodged safely there, and they are finally on her bed when she suddenly stops him and says, “Wait, I have to tell you something.”
Oh no, he thinks. She’s really a man, she has a month to live, her ex-husband is in the closet, videotaping them.
Later, on the ride to Leonie’s, Bob puts on a CD of Roy Hargrove. Wonderful trumpet player. He likes how jazz can transform any environment into some place mysterious and charged. He remembers driving home from college in his VW bug…He would listen to a jazz show out of upstate New York and forget that his feet were cold. The inside of the little car would feel warm and lit up, like a club, in candlelight. All he has really ever wanted was to share this moment, this trumpet, bending off the walls of his car, these white lines slipping under his wheels, these dark clumps of foliage melting by.
Thank you again to Louie Cronin for joining me this week!
Louie Cronin, author of the novel Everyone Loves You Back, is a writer, radio producer and audio engineer. For ten years she served as NPR’s “Car Talk” traffic cop, producing the show and ensuring that every call was entertaining. Everyone Loves You Back won the 2016 Molly Ivors Fiction Prize from Gorsky Press in LA, leading to the novel’s publication. A graduate of Boston University’s Masters program in Creative Writing and a past winner of the Ivan Gold Fiction Fellowship from the Writers’ Room of Boston, Louie has had her fiction and essays published in Compass Rose, The Princeton Arts Review, Long Island Newsday, The Boston Globe Magazine, and on PRI.org. Her short stories have been finalists for both Glimmer Train and New Millennium Writings awards. Louie has been awarded residencies at the Ragdale Foundation, the Virginia Center for the Arts, and the Vermont Studio Center. Currently she works as a technical director for PRIs The World and lives in Boston with her husband, the sculptor James Wright.
Meet Bob, a sarcastic radio technician who has enough on his plate trying to navigate his forties without his Cambridge neighborhood becoming overrun by urban treehuggers and uppity intellectuals in tracksuits. Between a love triangle, a rapidly shrinking job market, and the looming threat of finally growing up, Bob is forced to dig deep―man―and figure out not just what he wants, but who he is. Change hits hard when you live in the past.
Louie Cronin’s breakthrough novel is a coming-of-middle-age story that pays homage to the everyday.
Praise for Everyone Loves You Back…
“A very funny, very smart book, this one has it all: Cambridge wackos, toxic trees, and characters you fall in love with. Here I thought Cronin was just goofing off all these years, but shes been busy writing this very cool book.” — Ray Magliozzi, co-host of Car Talk on NPR
“…wonderfully witty and inventive,… a sparkling debut.” — Margot Livesey, The Flight of Gemma Hardy
“Permit me to rave, this is that hard-to-find, A+ novel so smart and wry and so beautifully observed that I kept saying, “Wish I could do that.” I loved everything about this wonderful book.” — Elinor Lipman, The Inn At Lake Devine