“Lynn Crawford’s novel Shankus & Kitto demands attention from its readers, and they are richly rewarded for their efforts. Crawford delves into the lives of four characters related by either blood or marriage. Her narrative deftly establishes connective threads between them. Each chapter is told in first person by one of the central characters, allowing Crawford to present multiple subjective points of view. As the novel progresses, the overarching story coalesces, but Crawford does not present events chronologically. The story moves back and forth through time, providing perspectives from both the Shankus and Kitto families. Past, future, and present are fluid entities, and set the stage for great and small narrative revelations.” — Colorado Review
“SHANKUS & KITTO: A SAGA is a complex chronicling of two interwoven families, who live—sometimes thriving, sometimes surviving—in the blight and fright of the American cityscape. Each chapter finds a member of one of these alternately eccentric and endearing families narrating overlapping events, comically proving that “eyewitness” testimony can sometimes be another kind of blindness. Stories within stories abound, references to Walt Whitman, Gertrude Stein, Anna Karenina, Anne Boylen, and the mythological Pandora further complicating and illuminating things. Storytelling, its windfalls and pitfalls, is a recurring theme, Meg Kitto at one point asking, “What is the difference between believing stories and being delusional?” Nonjudgmentally attentive to her characters’ fables and foibles, with a style reminiscent of Lydia Davis and Deborah Eisenberg, Crawford masterfully reveals how and where we go awry, the fumbling ways we interpret each other’s words and deeds, slights and sleights.”
“What a nice looking small press book, so well-produced! I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but SSPT is just lovely. Oh yeah, the language and characterizations, too. Crawford takes her time exploring her characters and their worlds.”
“In Simply Separate People and earlier works, such as Fortification Resort Lynn Crawford focuses on the leisure time of the leisure class. In her new book, Crawford, an occasional writer for the Rail whom I have known for a number of years, complicates things by placing her chosen content in a comparative perspective, resetting the plots of earlier novels in modern days and dress, so that every alteration she makes illuminates a distinctive difference between eras.”
“Jumpcut April 2011, into the deceptively casual style of Lynn Crawford’s brilliantly refractive multilayered time-bent novel whose characters are spookily alive as though you could poke them nonvirtually lying in the bed right next to you or maybe they have walked down the hallway to escape you. Simply Separate People, Two, by Lynn Crawford, Black Square Editions & The Brooklyn Rail, 2011…”
When she first graduated New York University with a masters degree, Lynn Crawford began a career as a social worker, but it was not long before her talent for writing and art drew her in a different direction.
“When I was in New York, I was working in a psychiatric hospital,” said Crawford. While living in New York, she developed a friendship with John Yau, a respected editor, and discovered a passion for writing. “He really encouraged me. He spotted something in me I’m not sure I would’ve seen.” By the time she was 35-years-old, she had published her first book, Solow. She left her prior vocation, and pursued a career as a novelist.
“I just read Lynn Crawford’s Simply Separate People, Two. It’s cool and smart. I like the way Crawford builds her book by reusing other writer’s characters. She, like, steps into the skins of famous dead authors, and puts on their old stories and creates great tributes by reworking and rebuilding them. Part of that is like a weird writer’s exercise, but it’s done so well that it makes you appreciate the old stories and, at the same time, marvel at the strange birth of the new ones, Lynn’s stories. Maybe this sounds too complicated, but it’s not. Lynn keeps it real. You don’t have to know anything about Hemingway or Henry James to enjoy following her people around. Next, I’d like to read her earlier book, Simply Separate People, the first one.”
—Steve Hughes, publisher of Stupor
“Lynn Crawford is a dead-on inventor of human dislocation. Her people, separated as they are from both themselves and the rest of the world, are skinlessly rendered by a writer who reminds us of who we are inside our own skins. At the center of the world stands Bry, a sort of unseen/unheard Everywoman. It is through her eyes and through her attempts at invention and singularity that we follow along and feel through the struggle and interplay between the binds of domestic reality and the desire to find and tell a story richer and taller and ultimately more mysterious than one’s own birthright. This novel is more than just a story, more than just a book; it is a world entire unto itself, and the people in it become more like real people, like made out of flesh neighbors, than simply characters made out of ink” — Peter Markus
“SIMPLY SEPARATE PEOPLE was a delicious act of worldbuilding which viewed its characters through an unexpected slant angle. the result was a very familiar but hard-to-put-your-finger-on strange depiction of the every day. personable, a book easy to fall into, as its characters’ hardships and motivations are recognizable. And now, just published, is SIMPLY SEPARATE PEOPLE, TWO. less a sequel so much as a second variation on her theme of the quotidian mixed with the uncanny. the focus here is storytelling, our urge to be storytellers, and what stories tell about its teller. crawford has her suburban mother narrator retell stories by hemingway and henry james in such a way that our view of ourselves turns almost unconsciously satirical and/or creepy. SIMPLY SEPARATE PEOPLE, TWO is a magical machine whose innards are in plain view but whose operating principles remain profoundly mysterious. a dazzling feat of collage and reverse-engineering, crawford writes in a deceptively easy-going style that’s both critical of and generous to all our sad and beautiful scurrying around.” – Eugene Lim
Copyright 2017 © Lynn Crawford