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Crash and Tell


Yellow Shoe Fiction

152 pages / 5.50 x 8.50 inches / 4 b&w illustrations

ebook available


  Paperback / 9780807142066 / September 2011

In Crash & Tell, Lori Baker plays with a variety of narrative voices and styles, skillfully treading the line between traditional storytelling and the literary avant-garde. The collection provides a unique account of women’s lives, exploring the dark side of romance, workplaces laced with the surreal, and familiar neighborhoods made strange through the lens of memory and murder.

The stories range from the comical re-imagining of Jane Goodall’s life among the apes— told from the eyes of Jane as a debutante escapee—to a professional research subject who outwits a cunning psychiatrist. In other stories, a photographer must come to grips with a peculiar family obsession; a bored wife on vacation experiences an unexpected seaside interlude with a strangely menacing dentist; a car crash leads to the most unromantic of romances; and alienated suburbanites value memories (and ghosts) over people.
From Crash & Tell: “Virginia finds him charming, and why not? She doesn’t know that for a week now he’s been nosing the big red Continental around town like a fifty-thousand-dollar penis, looking for likely and attractive ladies to poke. In the last three days he’s gotten three phone numbers that way. And it won’t be until later that she notices the ferrets.”
Baker’s stories are wildly funny yet serious, jarringly uncanny yet realistic; though they seem to come from a different time and place, the anachronism never rips the reader from the narrative dream state. Enter into the darkly whimsical world of Crash & Tell, and be reminded once more what stories can do.

Lori Baker, has taught writing at Brown University, Boston College, and Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts and is the author of Crazy Water, which won the Mamdouha S.  Bobst Literary Award for Short Stories.


Review of Crash & Tell

" Readers will come away hungry for more from this macabre, humorous, and tantalizing voice."

Review of Crash & Tell

"Yet in these mostly sardonic tales, Baker’s characters are reasonably (if ironically) self-aware. The stories are also, in general, wickedly amusing and Baker’s writing is both precise and quirky. Word choices often surprise but they also work in context. These are misfit stories after all and esoteric terms here and there rightly emphasize the absurdities facing her oddball protagonists. Every woman here is lost or searching or patiently waiting for life to come to her—rarely do they get what they want, if they even know what they want. They’re bourgeois pawns of their own (or their mothers’) making—with one character even happily recycling sad clichés."

Review of Crash & Tell

"Crash & Tell is imagination with purpose; this is a collection of short stories that encourages us to conceive more richly of the lives of even those who we meet in passing."

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