How Did You Get This Number

Sloane Crosley

Published: 5 May 2011
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 240 pages
ISBN: 9781846272264


What happens when the minibus full of your fellow wedding travellers hits a bear in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness? Or you hear the voice of your high school's long lost queen bee from a bathroom cubicle? Why is there always a moment of utter disorientation when you emerge at street level from the tube station, no matter how many times you make the journey? It seems that Sloane Crosley can barely step outside her front door without being reminded of just how perplexing and absurd adult life can be. With her characteristic brio, Sloane recounts her amusing attempts to navigate the bumps of daily life. Pleasant existential confusion awaits you.

About the author

Image of Sloane Crosley

Sloane Crosley's work has appeared in the New York Times, the New York Observer, the Village Voice, GQ, Playboy Magazine and numerous other literary journals and websites. In her free time, she serves as a publicist at Vintage Books. She is the author of two books of essays, the word-of-mouth bestselling I Was Told There'd Be Cake and How Did You Get This Number. More about the author


‘Crosley is like a tap-dancer, lighthearted and showman-like, but capable of surprising you with the reserves of emotion and keen social observation that motivate the performance.’



‘Crosley winningly captures that stumble into true adulthood, trying to get to grips with her own life with all the sangfroid of a teenager and the anxiety of someone in middle age. The result is generous, terrifically bright and charmingly unhinged’ Laurence Mackin

‘Crosley's charm is her spry tone, the perfect match of form to content’ Emma Brockes

‘How sure footed and observant Sloane Crosley is. How perfectly, relentlessly funny. If you needed a bib while reading I Was Told There'd Be Cake, you might consider diapers for How Did You Get This Number.’ David Sedaris

‘Nicely odd and genuinely touching’

‘One part Carrie Bradshaw, one part Dorothy Parker but with a sharp humour that's all her own, Crosley writes about her life in NYC without being too cool. Imagine your wittiest friend on life in the Big Apple’

‘She aims a barrage of one-liners sardonic observations and comic set-pieces at the reader's head ... She is particularly funny when, visiting Paris and Lisbon, she gives us fresh variations on the theme of the hapless tourist.’

‘Shines a bold comic light on life's everyday absurdities’

‘Sloane Crosley is the queen of satire and we love her for it ... she takes life's little absurdities and turns them into laugh-out-loud vignettes ... her writing is ferociously funny, razor-sharp and packed full of insight. Conversational and astute every sentence is epigrammatic ... a manual for anyone trying to navigate adult life without a map.’

‘Talented, twisted and often the subject of literary comparisons ... Crosley's eye for detail, particularly the absurd or tragic, is dangerously sharp’

‘The witty, smart, skilled workings of a wordsmith that thrust the reader into laugh-out-loud territory. As in her previous collection of short essays, "I Was Told There'd Be Cake," Crosley captivates the reader from the very first sentence: "There is only one answer to the question: Would you like to see a 3 a.m. performance of amateur Portuguese circus clowns?"We are brought along in Crosley's dissection of both the mundane and the extraordinary in nine stories that take us far beyond New York, where the author lives and which inspired many of the stories in her first book. There are bear sightings in Alaska and musings on cheese in Paris. And along the way, there are too many expertly penned and laugh-inducing lines to quote, much like David Sedaris, the humorist whose style Crosley sometimes echoes... Even in the occasional moment in which Crosley's prose fails to entirely captivate, not far off is another riff, another musing dripping with both silliness and smarts that make her worthy of your attention and bound to be a fixture on bookshelves for years to come.’

‘Why we love her: She's the female David Sedaris.’

‘With a talent for analytical insight that strays well into the territory of neurosis, Sloane Crosley scores exceedingly high on the mordant New York Jewish humour scale. Her first collection of essays, 2008's I Was Told There'd Be Cake, and its follow-up, How Did You Get This Number, establish her as the ideal humorist for the thirtysomething female urbanite ... Crosley's humour sparkles like a black diamond in this second collection as she undertakes voyages into foreign territories and muses on her own history and the human condition ... her wit and flashes of wisdom make her an entertaining commentator on the pitfalls of contemporary life’ Tina Jackson

‘Yet there's more to our whip-smart heroine than meets the eye. We see the substance beneath the style in unexpected places, such as a bar in Lisbon, where Crosley attempts to communicate with a group of Portuguese clowns-in-training, or a confessional in Notre Dame (perhaps a first for Jewish girls from Westchester). The longest essay, "Off the Back of a Truck," is a rhapsodic piece that, while occasionally entering the Carrie Bradshaw School of Literature territory, never loses its grip on reality. If only that could be said for more people.’

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