“A great cast of characters … Fellini-ish”
"Geoghegan's (Natural Disasters, 2014, etc.) eloquently told stories examine themes of loneliness, sex, addiction, and grief through the lens of unfamiliar cultures and languages. Part love stories, part travelogues, these are tales of world-weary characters, almost all of them women with appetites. They are at home everywhere and nowhere, stopping for a time in Rome, Seattle, Boulder, Bangkok, or Chicago. Wry humor and a ferocious authenticity inform their missed cues, bar scenes, bed fumbles, and picturesque ramblings. They crave love or connection but mostly end up with fractured, halfhearted intimacies. Geoghegan bravely navigates the rough terrain of the privileged and the chronically unloved with exquisite skill, impeccable pacing, and literary turns of phrase. During a harrowing car ride along the Amalfi coast in "The Violet Hour," Violet's lover, a photographer, tells her to hold the wheel so he can take a shot of the rain-drenched cliff and the water below. She is terrified but does what she's told. "That had been the hook. Billy's ability to turn a hardship into a thing of beauty, crystalizing it in a single image made at precisely the right moment. Plenty of people can point and shoot. Few are able to gaze through the lens and truly see." In "eightball," the last story in the collection, younger sister Quinn adores her older brother, Patrick. They share typical sibling misadventures: Patrick falls off a ladder Quinn is holding. He breaks his arm and shatters a wrist. Later, they share other things, like a taste for alcohol and cocaine. Too late, the effects of dysfunctional parents and squandered gifts result in a downward spiral that seems inevitable. There's wry humor and mysterious grief here, the hidden kind that comes unbidden after several tequila shots. These memorable stories are loosely connected by lots of sex but too little love. The thread that holds it all together is Geoghegan's cool, articulate demeanor and masterful writing."
“A masterful collection laced with dark humor, aching grief and great tenderness. Geoghegan’s stories take us around the world, from a beach house on the Atlantic all the way to Bali and Rome and the quiet power of her voice reaches both heart and bone.”
—Francesca Marciano, author of The Other Language, Rules of The Wild, and The End of Manners
“Elizabeth Geoghegan’s Eightball is a sonograph to a woman’s heart a passport to the present where, just like that, we gain entry to all we have misunderstood about what it is to be intimately human. Adult, extreme, crushing and crashing and kissing all over the world, Geoghegan’s prose in this collection is heartbreakingly good with its heavy imprint on the soul and tender release of story which pay attention to all the signs of life we miss and submerge: here we can dive, safe and sure, to increase our own depths. Eightball develops a commonly-felt sense of alienation into an aesthetic of loss and longing, where with mordant wit Geoghegan delivers a velveteen narration of lives locked and constrained then unbound. The story is always the thing, but the telling has its own special musicality, ambitiously symphonic, yet the reading makes you feel quietly beheld, chambered. Eightball explores the gendered and nationed ways we get stuck as people, and the dreams that deliver us, or entrap us afresh. Like letters written to Santa by someone we all know with a list we fully covet, Eightball’s magical thinking leaves me wonderstruck. If Lucia Berlin is early Patti Smith, then Elizabeth Geoghegan is Blondie and Joan Jett and Florence and the Machine in one big literary sandwich.”
—Susan Bradley Smith, author of The Postcult Heart, The Screaming Middle, and Beds For All Who Come
“Eightball has it all, as good readable literature should. It’s sad and knowing while being funny and wry. The stories contained in it form an arc of kind realism. Geoghegan knows who we are, wherever on the globe we roam. She’s wise and quick. She doesn’t want to hurt us, but she has to stab. Her sentences flash and settle. And she’s restless, merciless. Also, she’s really funny! Hats off to a book we’ll be reading for a good while, because she understands the human race, particularly us guys. And the women who for some reason love us. Pity us all in her deft, skillful hands."
—Michael Carroll, author of Stella Maris: And Other Key West Stories, and Little Reef and Other Stories
“It is no surprise to me that Elizabeth Geoghegan was a pupil and mentee of the wondrous Lucia Berlin. Some of what has been said about Berlin is that she wrote about “place” in such a way that it made you believe she belonged to all the countries she was writing about. The same can be said about Geoghegan. Like Berlin she is a master at putting her female characters as diligently far away from their comfort zones (and ours) as possible. These women who travel the world and feel pain and epiphanies in every hemisphere, are emotionally raw, sincere, and relentlessly adventurous. Eightball brims with a rare sense of desire, loss and, always, a hunger for more. It exposes the lives of characters who are full of guts and contradictions––a wonderful antidote for those of us who are left wanting more of Berlin’s wild streak and spark.”
— Chiara Barzini, author of Things That Happened Before the Earthquake and Sister Stop Breathing