- Paperback: 250 pages
- Published: 5/1/09
- IBSN: 9781933354811
- e-IBSN: 9781617750052
- Genre: Fiction
Estep’s best novel to date explores with deep wit and insight how a shocking family secret impacts the lives of an eccentric mother and her two daughters.
“There is about Maggie Estep’s work a directness, a clear determination—a drive to cut through, to break through, to claw through—that is impressive.”
—A.M. Homes, author of The Mistress’s Daughter
“Maggie Estep is the bastard daughter of Raymond Chandler and Anaïs Nin. Her prose is hard-boiled and sexy; she turns a good phrase and shows some leg.”
—Jonathan Ames, author of Wake Up, Sir!
“Maggie Estep writes like a character you hope to meet at the bar of your dreams. She tells stories about gorgeous freaks, addled hipsters, kicked puppies, gold-hearted tough guys, galavanters, bridge climbers, soft-boiled horse players, and nice ladies—many of whom have interesting love affairs, occasionally with one another. Even better, she describes them all with sympathy, verve, wry emotional intelligence, and a little disdain. It’s like reading Dashiell Hammett and Laurie Colwin at the same time. Alice Fantastic will make you dazed and susceptible.”
“No one else writes sentences like Maggie Estep; hers zip and loop and poke at us like a flirt. The characters in Alice Fantastic lead lives of ragged and chaotic romance with men, women, and dogs, set against a backdrop of New York City’s last remaining fringes—you know, the fringes where the rest of us all live. The result is a book as unexpected as it is strangely reassuring and familiar. I loved it, and my pit bulls did too.”
—Ken Foster, author of The Dogs Who Found Me
“There’s lunatic fun to be had in the offbeat adventures Maggie Estep dreams up for her endearing slacker heroine, Ruby Murphy.”
—New York Times, on Flamethrower
Alice Hunter is a thirty-six-year-old professional gambler living in Queens, NY. She is modestly successful as a horseplayer and enjoys her work. Though avidly pursued by her lover, Clayton, who she refers to as The Big Oaf, Alice’s closest companion is Candy, a small, spotted dog, and Alice likes it that way. When Clayton’s overzealousness leads Alice to ask one of her racetrack cronies to intimidate Clayton into leaving her, a few things go wrong and Alice turns to her half-sister Eloise, a toy maker, whose own lover has just been killed in a freak accident.
There is fierce love between Alice, Eloise, and Kimberly (their unconventional mother), but it takes Alice’s accidental discovery of an awful secret Kimberly has been keeping to truly bring three eccentric women, seventeen dogs, and assorted lovers together.
MAGGIE ESTEP has published multiple books, including Alice Fantastic and Hex (a New York Times Notable Book of 2003). Her work has also appeared in many magazines and anthologies such as Brooklyn Noir, Queens Noir, Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, The Best American Erotica, and The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry. She has performed her work in a wide variety of venues ranging from Lincoln Center to Lollapalooza, Charlie Rose, and HBO’s Def Poetry Jam. She lives in Woodstock, New York.