Sometimes the structure of a novel so suits its content, so fully allows characters to inhabit the page, that it’s hard to imagine any other arrangement. So it is with Susan Conley’s twisty, absorbing new novel, with its brief urgent chapters that read like dispatches from near and far ... Readers may come away from this book marveling at the small miracle they’ve just witnessed – this feisty blur of a woman, caught in the grip of her many demons, hellbent on pushing everyone, and everything, away. Still, she – and her marriage – manage to emerge, like the pieces of a broken self, reassembled into a recognizable whole. Elsey is that rare creation that evokes real life, defies predictability and disarms us at every turn. Conley has taken a jittery pile of loose ends and made a thing of beauty.
This is rather a thin story in a thin book, yet it tells an uplifting tale ... Much of the book is also a bit of a ramble in the hills with long digressions ... Yes, it’s quite a nicely baked short yarn, rather than a novel, but written a bit like a soufflé, rising in the oven but when eaten there isn’t that much substance.