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Liars and Saints

Meloy, Maile

2,359 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0719566444 / ISBN 13: 9780719566448
Published by John Murray Publishers Ltd, 2004
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Browsers' Bookstore, CBA (Corvallis, OR, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Signed. First Edition. First UK editon. Signed by the author. Fine copy in fine dust jacket. Though not marked, from the collection of Mel Waggoner, host of the public radio program "Profiles" which interviewed authors. Bookseller Inventory # mon0000092765

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Liars and Saints

Publisher: John Murray Publishers Ltd

Publication Date: 2004

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: fine

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

Liars And Saints is an utterly compelling portrait of a family, the twists and turns of their lives unravelled with extraordinary sensitivity and understanding. By turns laugh aloud funny and unbearably moving, it marks the beginning of a stunning literary carrer. Set in California, the narrative follows four generations of the Santerre family from World War II to the present, as they navigate a succession of life-changing events. It is guaranteed to be loved by all those who devoured The Divine Secrets Of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood.

Review:

Opening with a wedding and ending with a funeral, Maile Meloy stuffs everything imaginable in between, and manages to maintain a cool, elegant prose style throughout. Liars and Saints, Meloy's debut novel, following her story collection Half in Love, chronicles the life of the Santerre family, who sin with the gusto of true Catholics. Written in a series of short story-like vignettes, the family's saga is told in turn by every member, from Yvette the matriarch down to T.J., her great-grandson. We start out with a relatively run of the mill family secret, when in the 1950s Yvette sends daughter Margot off to a French convent for the duration of her teenage pregnancy. As the decades pass, the transgressions become wilder and more melodramatic, as if the Santerres are trying to keep up with the times by way of their naughty acts. What makes the novel work is that all the while, Meloy maintains a quiet, slightly wry tone: illicit lovemaking and bloody mary mixing are recounted with the same equanimity. She also gets just right the tone of each era. When Yvette's other daughter Clarissa marries a jolly lawyer in the early 60s, he sends a telegram to Yvette: "HITCHED. THANKS FOR BEAUTIFUL DAUGHER. PROGENY PROMISED TO POPE." Likewise, in the 1970s the characters talk just groovy enough, and the 80s have a wised-up ring to them. Most multi-generational sagas are dull forays into sentimentalism, but in the aptly titled Liars and Saints, Meloy has written a corker. --Claire Dederer

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