'You don't know if that bird is dead, or if it could fly off at any minute,' the author says
We first encountered Sloane Crosley’s side-splitting essays in 2008’s I Was Told There’d Be Cake, and her 2010 follow-up How Did You Get This Number — and she finally returns with more wry observations next spring with Look Alive Out There. “There’s an essay at the end of How Did You Get This Number, and in the last paragraph I say something like, ‘Time picks you up by the scruff of the neck and then moves you forward,'” Crosley tells EW. ” [Look Alive Out There] sort of takes up where that left off.”
EW can exclusively reveal the book’s jacket below, which, like Crosley’s writing, is both stunning… and a little wacky.
“I love that it seems like a combination of an old school waiter’s glove and a taxidermy glove,” Crosley says. “There’s this thing with covers. I call it ‘the good two seconds’ and ‘the bad two seconds,’ like good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. The bad is where nobody can figure it out for two seconds, and that’s frustrating and they move on, because that’s an annoying game that nobody wants to play when they’re buying a book.”
But then there are the “good two seconds,” she explains, “where it takes you a minute to really see what’s going on with the cover, and [when you do], you feel like you’re in on something — which is sort of the point of the essays. It’s to feel that ‘stuck in the middle with you’ feeling. To feel like you’ve met your other old man in the Muppets. [The cover] is beautiful — it has to be appealing. But you don’t know if that bird is dead, or if it could fly off at any minute.”
Crosley says she always knew she’d come back to essays eventually, even after taking a break from writing about “reality” to conjure a world of her own creation in her novel The Clasp. “I was working on fiction for so long, and that was so freeing in some ways,” she explains. “Like, ‘Oh good, I get to make everything up!’ But then it’s sort of horrifying in other ways, where you’re like, ‘Oh God… I have to make everything up. I’m responsible for everything.'”
Look Alive Out There will cover a wide array of topics. “There’s illness in it, there’s death, there’s growing up, there’s having babies — or the possibility of having babies,” Crosley says. But of course, it’s not all that serious: “There’s goofy things. There’s epileptic dogs, and swingers, and I interview my porn star uncle,” she laughs.