Bowlaway is the saga of three generations of Truitt’s told against the setting of a candle pin bowling alley. Bertha Truitt, the matriarch of the family, wakes up in a cemetery in Salford, Massachusetts and goes on to marry, have a child late in life and build Bowlaway, the town’s candle pin bowling alley. As the family evolves, so do the lanes, eventually becoming a modernized place with automated pin spotters and arcade games. Bertha’s heirs are a colorful group of individuals ranging from a born again Christian to a biracial jazz chanteuse.
Bowlaway is one of those novels that requires a lot of reading before there is satisfaction. However, those willing to give it about 100 pages will be rewarded. McCracken’s prose is delightful, her descriptions are vivid, and her characters are whimsical and tragic.