Synopses & Reviews
Sometimes you find happiness where, and when, you least expect it.
For Mirabelle Zielinski's children, happiness always seems to be just out of reach. Her polished oldest daughter, Katya, clings to a stale marriage with a workaholic husband and three spoiled children. Her son, Ivan, so creative, is a down-in-the-dumps songwriter with the worst taste in women. And the "baby," impulsive Irina, who lives life on a whim, is now reluctantly pregnant and hitched to a man who is twice her age. On the weekend of their parents' anniversary party, lies will be revealed, hearts will be broken...but love will also be found. And the biggest shock may come from Mirabelle herself, because she has a secret that will change everything.
"The Zielinskis, the dysfunctional family of Riggle's delightful debut, have some problems, even if things at Mirabelle and Max's 35th anniversary party thrown by their three adult children at first seem peachy. Soon, though, the cracks appear: daughter Katya's stuck in a loveless marriage and saddled with three bratty kids. Son Ivan's a struggling songwriter who falls for all the wrong girls, and the youngest daughter, Irina, is a free-spirited 21-year-old, knocked up by a man twice her age. There's just no more room in their lives for another problem, but Mirabelle has a secret she's dying of breast cancer. With ease and grace, Riggle walks the fine line between sentimentality and comedy, and she has a sure hand in creating fun, quirky characters. Humorous and humane storytelling makes this much better than the standard cancer tear-jerker. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Riggle crafts a moving and accomplished first novel about a family coming to terms with change. Booklist
“Real Life and Liars depicts a family gathering with forensic precision: we see the characters raw in front of us. But Kristina Riggles moving and well-executed novel also embraces human fraility and serves up family complexities like a celebration buffet.” Eliza Graham, author of Restitution and Playing with the Moon
“A seemingly celebratory gathering brings joy, frustration, love and disappointment to a midwestern family in this wonderful debut novel. These are characters we know and care about from our own lives.” Denise Taylor, manager, Schuler Books and Music
In her wondrously affecting debut novel REAL LIFE AND LIARS, Kristina Riggle accomplished something authors almost never do anymore: she made me care about her characters - and what a wide-ranging cast of characters they are! She made me want good things for them. A must-read for summer 2009. Lauren Baratz-Logsted, author of Baby Needs a New Pair of Shoes
“Written with grace, passion, and insight, REAL LIFE AND LIARS is a deeply felt novel that draws a vivid portrait of a family in transition, and examines the very real fear of leaving behind all you hold dear.” Maggie Dana, author of BEACHCOMBING
About the Author
A freelance journalist, published short-story writer, and fiction coeditor at the e-zine Literary Mama, Kristina Riggle lives and writes in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with her husband, two kids, and dog.