skip to page content | skip to main navigation
      William Saroyan International Prize for Writing

Elizabeth Kelly

apologize, apologize!

Elizabeth Kelly

About the Author

Elizabeth Kelly is an award-winning journalist and former magazine editor. She has one husband and four children and lives in an old house in a small village in eastern Ontario with various dogs, cats, and pond fish. apologize, apologize! is her first novel.

About the Book

apologize, apologize! takes us into the perversely charmed world of the Flanagans and their son, Collie (His parents named him after their favorite breed of dog.) Collie comes of age on Martha's Vineyard, trying to make sense of his wildly wealthy, hyper-articulate, resolutely crazy family members: a philandering father, incorrigible brother, pigeon-racing uncle, radical activist mother, and a domineering media mogul grandfather (accused of being a murderer by Collie's mother). As Collie searches for his place in the world, he suffers insurmountable loss and grapples for bravery as he struggles to cope with people he has no choice but to love.

Critics / Reviews

“Splendid . . . deliciously witty prose . . . with an acute sense of absurdity and the arch style of a modern-day Kingsley Amis.”
— Ron Charles, Washington Post

“First time novelist Kelly displays an unrelenting quirkiness that begs comparison with Daniel Wallace and John Irving, both of whom have large contingents of rabid fans. Even the dogs and pigeons have personality to spare in this meandering story of the ‘fantastic Flanagans,’ a well-to-do family living on Martha’s Vineyard . . . Slightly surreal . . . Whimsical . . . will appeal to lovers of the offbeat.”

“Part Grey Gardens and part The Royal Tenenbaums  . . . beautifully written . . . Kelly is a gifted writer . . . Collie’s quest is worth reading for the elegant prose alone.”
Publishers Weekly

“Dave Eggers fans should enjoy Canadian journalist Kelly’s rambunctious first novel about the guilt-ridden scion of a super-rich, eccentric Martha’s Vineyard family.”
Kirkus Reviews

“[A] rousingly pell-mell debut . . . the giddy prose never stops, detonating like a string of firecrackers.”
The New Yorker

“Hilarious . . . First-time novelist Elizabeth Kelly . . . outwrites most other novelists crowding the bookshelf.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer

“The language shimmers, and the cast of characters is unforgettable . . . rich in imagery—Kelly has a gift for lively figurative language. And all the characters have lacerating wit . . . There’s so much leaping off the pages that you’ll want to read it more than once.
Vancouver Sun

“For all the novel’s considerable comic brio, Kelly achieves something deeper and more unsettling, depicting the distortion of values that extreme wealth can cause and showing, without getting heavy-handed about it, how fun is often something pursued as a distraction from deep pain.”
Montreal Gazette

“Large, vital, funny, and crushingly sad, APOLOGIZE, APOLOGIZE! is one to savor.”
Buffalo News

“Very entertaining . . . Kelly takes a big gamble by letting most of her novel unwind through a male character . . . Her character Collie carries it off. Good for him. And good for Kelly.
St. Louis Post Dispatch

“”Well-written and clever . . . brims  and bubbles with the effervescence  of Kelly’s hard work.”
Ottawa Citizen

Return to 2010
Winners & Finalists


Stanford seal Last modified: August 24, 2010
©2005 The Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University. All rights reserved.
[an error occurred while processing this directive] August 24, 2010