Elizabeth McCracken seems to specialise in unlikely romance: the inventive Niagara Falls All Over Again is the story of a vaudevillian's love for the one person he can't be without--his partner in comedic crime and her charmingly quirky debut, The Giant's House, was the story of a librarian's passion for the world's tallest boy.
In Niagara Falls Carter and Sharp, a vaudeville team that makes the leap to B-list film fame, have perfected a classic shtick: the stern Professor and the hapless, bumbling Rocky. Off screen, however, their roles are reversed. Mose Sharp is mild-mannered and accommodating, while Rocky Carter is a jovial bully--the kind of guy, Sharp thinks, who "compared the slices of cake on an arriving dessert tray and got disappointed, really disappointed, when the largest was delivered to somebody who wasn't him".
Show business is a subject tailor-made for McCracken's eccentric gifts. Her timing is impeccable, and she's no slouch with the jokes either. But she's not playing this one just for laughs. As anyone who read The Giant's House knows, McCracken writes prose of uncommon beauty, studded with images both arresting and sad. This second novel is a balancing act on an even greater scale: tender but never sentimental, verbally dexterous but never merely clever. Like its predecessor, Niagara Falls will have you reading aloud to whoever will listen. --Mary Park, Amazon.com