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A Family Daughter: A Novel

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A Family Daughter: A Novel Cover

ISBN13: 9780743277662
ISBN10: 074327766x
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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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:

"[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:

"[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] 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

Review:

"Meloy is stretching, intellectually and artistically, and watching her take risks is often a pleasure. A Family Daughter is not always consistent and not always convincing, but it is ambitious and playful and clever. That's a fair enough literary bargain for any novel." Washington Post

Review:

"While some characters get a little too much time on the page...one senses that once Meloy harnesses the focus that has made her such a brilliant short-story writer, she will be just as brilliant a novelist." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"The true miracle of A Family Daughter is that it successfully borrows metafictional technique...to tell a straightforward humanist story." Portland Oregonian

Review:

"Meloy is observant, cogent and a pitiless profiler of how entwined yet estranged blood relations can be. In short chapters and crisp, exacting prose, she keeps tab on parallel fates." Seattle Times

Review:

"Sex, bad behavior and a family that always comes together in the end." Cleveland Plain Dealer

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.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Neo Englander, August 31, 2006 (view all comments by Neo Englander)
I really enjoyed this book. The characters are very engaging, the storyline is engrossing, and Meloy's storytelling is very compelling. Nothing spectacularly horrific or dramatic happens but you will find yourself wanting to keep going home with the Santerres as they find themselves moving so far away from home that they circle back without realizing it. Apparently the characters are based on those in Meloy's first novel, "Liars and Saints"--I am definitely going to be looking that book up--it has been several days since I finished the story--and I still miss them....
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(5 of 11 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780743277662
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Meloy, Maile
Publisher:
Scribner
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Family
Subject:
Secrecy.
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st
Publication Date:
February 7, 2006
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
8.80x5.86x1.04 in. .92 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

A Family Daughter: A Novel Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.95 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Scribner Book Company - English 9780743277662 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 , "[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 , "[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] 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."
"Review" by , "Meloy is stretching, intellectually and artistically, and watching her take risks is often a pleasure. A Family Daughter is not always consistent and not always convincing, but it is ambitious and playful and clever. That's a fair enough literary bargain for any novel."
"Review" by , "While some characters get a little too much time on the page...one senses that once Meloy harnesses the focus that has made her such a brilliant short-story writer, she will be just as brilliant a novelist."
"Review" by , "The true miracle of A Family Daughter is that it successfully borrows metafictional technique...to tell a straightforward humanist story."
"Review" by , "Meloy is observant, cogent and a pitiless profiler of how entwined yet estranged blood relations can be. In short chapters and crisp, exacting prose, she keeps tab on parallel fates."
"Review" by , "Sex, bad behavior and a family that always comes together in the end."
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