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"What do you mean you don't like tongue? You loved tongue. You used to eat it all up. Don't tell stories." — Leslie's Mom

 *BLURB /blərb/ – coined by American humorist Gelett Burgess



If unbearable guilt makes you wish to suffer vicariously, and
 professionally, for others; if you suddenly find yourself the father
 of thousands and thousands of children; if your ambition is to occupy
 the Chair of Hermit Studies at the University of Oregon, or to be a 
ghost in a hot-air balloon, or if you have considered wearing a 
gorilla mask while having an abortion Crazy Love is your operating
 manual. These seventeen achingly funny and hilariously sad stories
 will give you invaluable advice on how to love, how to be crazy, how 
to be human.— Ursula K. Le Guin  


Crazy Love is crazy good! Leslie What's brain is evidently crowded
 with strangeness, awfulness, wonderfulness, wildness, madness of all
 kinds...and love. Lots of love. How lucky we are that her imagination
runs deep, runs true, runs onto the page in crazily beautiful stories
, and lucky, so very lucky, to be holding those stories right now in
 our hands. — Molly Gloss 

Sometimes satirical, sometimes wickedly funny, cruel, compassionate, over the top—whatever description one chooses to use, it very likely will apply to a story here. They all share some qualities such as closely observed, honestly related, beautifully crafted, and always deeply meaningful to the characters involved. There is frequently startling poignancy as the stories twist and turn in unexpected ways. These are real love stories—love found, love lost, love sought, love bought, love betrayed . . . — Kate Wilhelm (Introduction to Crazy Love)


These stories are the wonder of an artist mischievous, getting away with what she can to stave of the boring musties. To be admired is the sheer loft of imagination, the deft line sharp as a razor, the insight that slays. Funny, yes, but the kind of funny that sweeps around and tags you from behind. You are laughing and then you are not laughing and then you are reminding yourself to breathe. So these stories, by so irreverent a conjuror, are to be admired for their electricity, their challenge, their seeming helplessness at being other than they are, their absolute high-wire performance. — Robert Olmstead, fiction judge Oregon Book Awards


At times deeply emotional and mature but also clever and entertaining, Leslie What's short fiction always comes from the heart. A collection from her can only be a cause for celebration. — Jeff VanderMeer


Leslie What's wild and risk-taking fantasy tales have been largely overlooked, but her latest short story collection offers a great opportunity for wideer attention. 'Babies' is a blistering allegory of motherhood that fuses together bug exterminators, marital problems and obsessive solicitude in 13 pitch-perfect pages. The story's heroine carries the 'extra weight' and protective quality of human pregnancy, while mothering cockroaches that 'always came to her side whenver the bugman sprayed the landlord's kitchen.' 'Paper Mates' is a clever story in which paperwork quite literally reproduces like rabbits. What's stories, like Ray Bradbury's and Richard Matheson's, rely on high concepts to carry the narratives forward, but her prose works best when it is concise. Nearly every tale offers an unexpected surprise, but never feels too gimmicky. This is a universe in which one should never underestimate a woman in a ratty gorilla suit, even if her ability to 'speak' with gorillas may very well be her only means of communication. 



Crazy Love is a collection of 17 short stories that stop at nothing to convey the limitless possibilities of love and its tremendous potential for both honesty and hilarity. — Cynthia Reeser



Pain, joy, self-deception, guilt: these are the places 'crazy love' takes us. — L. Timmel DuChamp



An ace at the new weirdness defined by the anthology Feeling Very Strange (2006), What uses it to be creepy, polemical, and funny, all at once or in various blendings. These 17 stories progress from grim to laugh-out-loud ludicrous without ever derogating their common subject, love, though they do depict it as fairly insane. The opening stories, "Finger Talk" and "Babies," feature women in abusive relationships they don't want to change; that one is trapped in a gorilla suit and the other is, unbeknownst to hubby, carrying sextuplets leavens their dire circumstances some, but enough? "The Cost of Doing Business" is about a professional victim, whose clients must be able to afford her subsequent hospitalizations and quite adequate comfort between jobs. Things lighten up through the predicaments of a man who masturbated for science when 18 and at 49 discovers he has thousands of offspring, a man who realizes that work doesn't proliferate during vacation without cause, a nauseating senior who expects familial love although he intends to live forever, and others, until at last there is the hermit researcher's tale, from which we learn, through a vale of our own tears of laughter, why there are always hermits. Love is why, of course. Crazy! — Ray Olson



Top Ten SF/Fantasy Books Of The Year — Ray Olson



"Queen of Gonzo" What (OLYMPIC GAMES) drags love out of its gooey, schmaltzy rut and takes it for a joyride in this exuberant collection of 17 stories. "Finger Talk" is a poignant take on unwanted pregnancy and cavalier men. "Babies" gives a Kafkaesque touch to a pregnancy that may or may not have been affected by pesticides during the first trimester. "All My Children" asks whether the provider of a sperm sample is legally responsible for the children that come from its use — and if he is, how does he pay for 10,000 college tuition fees? The 1999 Nebula-winning "The Cost of Doing Business" posits possibly the most incredible premise in the book: a love for others that is completely selfless and nonjudgmental. No matter how brief or long, no matter how bizarre, each tale in this collection grabs readers and demands they rethink how they see all the myriad forms of love. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information, Inc.



"Crazy love" is often baffling to anyone who witnesses it. For Leslie What, such odd particularity provides a key for unlocking the mysteries of the ordinary heart afflicted with a love that onlookers typically categorize as "dysfunctional." Pain, joy, self-deception, guilt: these are the places "crazy love" takes us. What knows them well. L. Timmel Duchamp, ""My favorites of 2008"



She can hook you with just a few words and after that, you're on your own in the emotionally vivid worlds she creates. And for all the pain she wrests from her characters and thrusts in your face, for all the vivid anger and wrenching anguish she puts the reader through, there's a sort of clarity here that's positively cathartic. — Rick Kleffel



Ironic and uncompromising, Leslie What's collection is also unfailingly humorous and boldly creative, frequently outlandishly so. What has written an enlightening examination of the most crazy-making endeavor in which our species obsessively engages. It drives us crazy-Crazy Love. — R.A. Rycraft



Leslie What finds a surreal joy in the most awful things that can happen.Eileen Gunn


A great big scary comic talent. — Damon Knight


A  powerful, lean, direct, taut, sinewy, substantive, holy,  prayerful piece  of work that matters. —  Brian Doyle, writing about "Why I Wash the Dead" for the Oregon Writers Colony nonfiction award




The Sweet and Sour Tongue, Wildside, 2002, a collection of Jewish themed fabulist fiction that blending "... elements of science fiction and fantasy into domestic scenes of Jewish family life, Nebula Award-winner What's stories blend realistic, traditional and absurd situations, her witty imagination inspiring laughter and horror."– Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.




With her full-length book, What establishes herself as a Thorne Smith ("Topper", "The Night Life of the Gods") for the new millennium.— Michael Berry



"Books for the Holidays" — Penelope, one of Zeus' former conquests, has spent the past 2,000 years trapped inside an enchanted wooden door, only to be released by an eccentric folk artist named Possum. This very funny fantasy is especially impressive in the way it turns serious and genuinely moving in its final pages.Michael Berry



This modern tale of an ancient marriage is hilarious and tear-jerking... A.M. Dellamonica


Take a playboy Zeus with issues; a New-Age Hera; an idiot boy; another who's half-bug, half-bat; an artist who walks backwards; and a woman who lived inside a door for 2000 years... You'd think with this melange, no one but Eudora Welty could have made a moving and magical novel. You'd be wrong. Leslie What has.— Howard Waldrop


This novel is so much fun. From the woman in the door to bug bangs (not the haircut) and beyond, the story is deeply imagined and wonderfully realized. Yes, the book is a romp with the gods being
the gods, but it is also full of people you will come to care about like Penelope, and Possum who is used to moody women, and Eddie who is destined for bigger things—people who will linger in your mind long after you've turned the last page. — Ray Vukcevich


If anybody can write about gods and goddesses, it's Leslie What. She's had more close encounters with them than anybody else I know. In fact, I suspect she's actually a goddess-in-hiding. Read on for a tantalizing and tasty serving of divine madness.— Nina Kiriki Hoffman


This is a wonderful novel; it may well become a cult classic. — Elizabeth Hand, THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION


Olympic Games is not only the first novel by one of our most gifted fantasists, it's a revelation. — James Patrick Kelly


In Leslie What's hands, everyday life is revealed in all its weird implausibility. And oddly enough, the things that should be strange―gods and goddesses with marital problems―feel as real as our friends and neighbors and maybe, at moments, ourselves. — Maureen F. McHugh


Hera follows Zeus to a bar, watches him hustle a ditzy blonde, transforms herself into a microscopic mite, mates with other mites, transforms the blonde into a bag of marshmallows and makes up with Zeus. This is a story?  TANGENT