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.
Elaine McCluskey lives in Dartmouth, NS, the City of Lakes. She writes fiction and teaches journalism. She has published three prior books of fiction, and her short stories have appeared in many Canadian literary journals, as well as anthologies such as the Journey Prize Stories.
"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 "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
"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
"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." - Pickle Me This "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