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“McCluskey is a vigorous, colourful and often humorous writer, with a sharp and sometimes wicked eye.” 
     – The Globe and Mail

Hello, Sweetheart is darkly humorous, gritty, and touching.  McCluskey’s unassuming Canadian towns are populated by dreamers and disappointment, killers and collaborators, VLT junkies, sinister drug-testers, and a dangerous stay-at-home dad named Mugsy. It exposes the frailties of people – marginalized people, forgotten people, and grieving people – but never loses sight of their humanity. Edgy and at times disturbing, this collection of short stories will take you places you don’t expect to go.

“The stories in Hello, Sweetheart are barbed and frequently sardonic – one of the best of them, “Two Truths and a Lie,” contains a twist in the tail that owes more to Roald Dahl than the kind of story Barthelme was referencing.But McCluskey also threads a vein of compassion through the collection; these are not satires, and no matter how desperate the characters are, they are always presented with a tone of empathetic understanding. “People can be wretched, you know,” McCluskey writes in “XOXO,” and though the stories in Hello, Sweetheart go some way to bearing out this thesis, they also remind their reader of the humanity that lies just beneath the wretchedness.” – The National Post

“McCluskey mines the dark corners of life masterfully … Fans of the short story will want to familiarize themselves with Elaine McCluskey. With dark humour, lots of twists and entertaining digressions, she captures the conversations and inner thoughts of folks for whom she has fondness and sympathy.” – Winnipeg Free Press

“McCluskey has a knack for making the reader laugh and think and squirm all at the same time. I look forward to many more stories from her.” – Halifax Chronicle Herald

Hello Sweetheart will keep you reading, but be warned, this is not a warm and cuddly story collection. Throughout its 21 tales, the book introduces readers to gritty, hard luck characters trying to live their lives amid ambition and disappointment, dangerous spaces and people, drugs and death. But instead of scaring you away that should, most certainly, pull you in.” – Atlantic Books Today

Elaine McCluskey has done a fine job in crafting stories about flawed people who are worthy of our admiration for their ability to persevere. She has delivered the goods truthfully without sentiment, in an original and funny way. – The Winnipeg Review

“McCluskey is skilled at nailing her oddball characters with a few well-chosen details … These are unusually shaped stories that move rapidly and take interesting leaps.”  – The Coast

“There is an exuberance to [McCluskey’s] work, an energy, that is so compelling to encounter, and there’s nothing else like it, really. She’s one of the best short story writers at work in Canada—which is saying something indeed.” — Kerry Clare, Pickle Me This

 

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