Book Talk: Sloane Crosley hits brothels and clowns in new essays

Wed Jun 23, 2010 6:21am EDT
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By Belinda Goldsmith

SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - American writer Sloane Crosley set out for a career in fiction so surprised herself when she found herself writing humorous essays.

Crosley's debut essay collection, "I Was Told There'd Be Cake," became a New York Times best-seller and she was a finalist for the Thurber Prize for American Humor.

The New York-based writer's second collection, "How Did You Get This Number," is released this month with Crosley making friends with a trio of amateur circus clowns in Lisbon, crossing paths with a grizzly bear, and dealing with a haunted brothel.

Crosley, 31, who works as a publicist for a list of best-selling authors at Random House division Vintage Books, spoke to Reuters about writing and humor:

Q: Was your second collection long in the making?

A: "This one came out a little more naturally. The other was over a period of time and got complicated. Theme? It is sort of a non-theme theme. Before, the theme was disappointment. This is more a deeper exploration of when you do get the things that you want but your life is still somewhat incomplete and not everything is how it is supposed to be. That is where most of the humor comes from."

Q: Do you go out looking for stories to write about?

A: "I think if I was looking for stories it would be a very boring book. Inevitably, if you live any kind of life, the prism of your own experience will pop up to satisfy that general need. My best cocktail party stories are not in the books as they don't make for great essays. I do think there are things that happen to me but not to other people. I think other people manage to get in and out of weddings without seeing endangered species."   Continued...