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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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A Family Daughter

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A Family Daughter Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

From the award-winning author of Half in Love and Liars and Saints, a riveting story of love, sex, secrets, guilt, and forgiveness.

Maile Meloy's debut novel, Liars and Saints, captured the hearts of readers and critics alike. Now Meloy returns with a novel even more dazzling and unexpected than her first. Brilliantly entertaining, A Family Daughter might also be the most insightful novel about families and love that you will read this year.

It's 1979, and seven-year-old Abby, the youngest member of the close-knit Santerre family, is trapped indoors with the chicken pox during a heat wave. The events set in motion that summer will span decades and continents, change the Santerres forever, and surprise and amaze anyone who loved Meloy's Liars and Saints.

A rich, full novel about passion and desire, fear and betrayal, A Family Daughter illuminates both the joys and complications of contemporary life, and the relationship between truth and fiction. For everyone who has yet to meet the Santerres, an unmatched pleasure awaits.

Review:

"In evanescent scenes distinguished by clean, wry prose, Meloy observes the Santerre family, whom readers met in 2003's Liars and Saints, from a crafty new angle. The book opens as the deeply Catholic Yvette Santerre frets over her granddaughter, Abby, who has the chicken pox and has been deposited in Yvette's care while her mother, Clarissa, tries to remember what it's like to feel happy. Yvette and Teddy's eldest daughter, Margot, is repressed by her own Catholicism and veering into adultery; Clarissa thinks of her husband, Henry, and daughter, Abby, as 'captors' keeping her from realizing her true potential; and happy-go-lucky son Jamie has little ambition beyond his next girlfriend. With Abby at the story's center, the narrative moves forward years in effortless leaps, revealing the secrets and dissatisfactions of all. From Abby's rocky childhood to her bruising young adulthood (her parents divorce; her father is killed in a car accident), she finds solace with Jamie, 12 years her senior. When Abby is 21, uncle and niece fall into an affair, until Jamie is lured away by the bored, rich, chronically unfaithful Saffron, who suffers her own difficult mother crisis in Argentina. Clarissa takes up with a lesbian and confronts her mother with recovered memories; Jamie becomes convinced he's actually Margot's daughter; and dreamy, conflicted Abby writes a roman à clef (Liars and Saints!) about them all. Meloy shifts point of view fluently, and though her characters weather all sorts of melodrama, the novel itself feels light — poignant and affecting, meaningful yet somehow weightless." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"In her first novel, 'Liars and Saints,' Maile Meloy stripped her language to the bone — but that is not to say that she established herself as a minimalist. In both 'Liars and Saints' and this new novel, 'A Family Daughter,' she goes after the big picture and uses her broad and simple strokes to depict as many lives as she can crowd into her line of vision. Both novels tell the interlocking stories... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"[A] dazzling second novel....Riveting and engrossing, Meloy's tale of a family struggling with guilt and forgiveness spans decades and crosses continents, proving her status as one of the best literary observers of contemporary American life." Booklist (Starred Review)

Review:

"A thoroughly original, undeniably brilliant companion piece to Liars and Saints. Each stands alone; together they pack a seismic wallop." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

Review:

"[Meloy] pads the sequel with soapy subplots and an ever-expanding web of random new characters....She may have rigged up a mighty clever postmodern game, but she's written a mediocre sudsy melodrama. (Grade: B-)" Entertainment Weekly

Review:

"[A] big book as well as a swift, slender, graceful one. And if the speed and gloss of Ms. Meloy's first novel suggested that she might be better suited to short stories, this new book has the deep ramifications of more ambitious fiction." Janet Maslin, The New York Times

Review:

"[A] seductive, absorbing read. With ease and fluidity, Meloy gracefully pirouettes from...narrative summary to slice-of-life vignettes that provide scope and immediacy. The tone is by turns wry, ironic, affectionate — and consistently engaging." Philadelphia Inquirer

Synopsis:

One of the most insightful novels about families to appear in recent years, A Family Daughter revisits the Santerre clan from Maile Meloy's highly acclaimed debut novel Liars and Saints. It opens in 1979, when seven-year-old Abby, the youngest member of the close-knit family, is trapped indoors with chicken pox during a heat wave.

The events set in motion that summer span decades and continents — irrevocably changing the lives of the Santerres and those around them.

About the Author

Maile Meloy is the author of the story collection Half in Love and the novel Liars and Saints, which was shortlisted for the 2005 Orange Prize. Meloy's stories have been published in the New Yorker, and she has received the Paris Review's Aga Khan Prize for Fiction, the PEN/Malamud Award, the Rosenthal Foundation Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She lives in California.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780743277679
Author:
Meloy, Maile
Publisher:
Scribner Book Company
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Family
Subject:
Secrecy.
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Publication Date:
20070231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
8 x 5.25 in

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Related Subjects

» Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

A Family Daughter New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$17.99 Backorder
Product details 336 pages Scribner Book Company - English 9780743277679 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In evanescent scenes distinguished by clean, wry prose, Meloy observes the Santerre family, whom readers met in 2003's Liars and Saints, from a crafty new angle. The book opens as the deeply Catholic Yvette Santerre frets over her granddaughter, Abby, who has the chicken pox and has been deposited in Yvette's care while her mother, Clarissa, tries to remember what it's like to feel happy. Yvette and Teddy's eldest daughter, Margot, is repressed by her own Catholicism and veering into adultery; Clarissa thinks of her husband, Henry, and daughter, Abby, as 'captors' keeping her from realizing her true potential; and happy-go-lucky son Jamie has little ambition beyond his next girlfriend. With Abby at the story's center, the narrative moves forward years in effortless leaps, revealing the secrets and dissatisfactions of all. From Abby's rocky childhood to her bruising young adulthood (her parents divorce; her father is killed in a car accident), she finds solace with Jamie, 12 years her senior. When Abby is 21, uncle and niece fall into an affair, until Jamie is lured away by the bored, rich, chronically unfaithful Saffron, who suffers her own difficult mother crisis in Argentina. Clarissa takes up with a lesbian and confronts her mother with recovered memories; Jamie becomes convinced he's actually Margot's daughter; and dreamy, conflicted Abby writes a roman à clef (Liars and Saints!) about them all. Meloy shifts point of view fluently, and though her characters weather all sorts of melodrama, the novel itself feels light — poignant and affecting, meaningful yet somehow weightless." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "[A] dazzling second novel....Riveting and engrossing, Meloy's tale of a family struggling with guilt and forgiveness spans decades and crosses continents, proving her status as one of the best literary observers of contemporary American life."
"Review" by , "A thoroughly original, undeniably brilliant companion piece to Liars and Saints. Each stands alone; together they pack a seismic wallop."
"Review" by , "[Meloy] pads the sequel with soapy subplots and an ever-expanding web of random new characters....She may have rigged up a mighty clever postmodern game, but she's written a mediocre sudsy melodrama. (Grade: B-)"
"Review" by , "[A] big book as well as a swift, slender, graceful one. And if the speed and gloss of Ms. Meloy's first novel suggested that she might be better suited to short stories, this new book has the deep ramifications of more ambitious fiction."
"Review" by , "[A] seductive, absorbing read. With ease and fluidity, Meloy gracefully pirouettes from...narrative summary to slice-of-life vignettes that provide scope and immediacy. The tone is by turns wry, ironic, affectionate — and consistently engaging."
"Synopsis" by , One of the most insightful novels about families to appear in recent years, A Family Daughter revisits the Santerre clan from Maile Meloy's highly acclaimed debut novel Liars and Saints. It opens in 1979, when seven-year-old Abby, the youngest member of the close-knit family, is trapped indoors with chicken pox during a heat wave.

The events set in motion that summer span decades and continents — irrevocably changing the lives of the Santerres and those around them.

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