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A Family Daughter

New or Used: 3 copies from $4.94
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About the Author

Maile Meloy was born in Helena, Montana, and lives in California. Her first novel, LIARS AND SAINTS, drew acclaim from readers and reviewers alike. It was shortlisted for the 2005 Orange Prize for Fiction, and was selected as a Richard & Judy Summer Read. Her collection of stories, HALF IN LOVE, is also available as a John Murray paperback.


Fans of Meloy's previous novel, Liars and Saints, will be delighted with her latest effort. Meloy returns to the Santerre family, this time focusing on "family daughter" Abby and her emotional relationship with her uncle (or is it cousin?) Jamie. The novel moves from Abby's undergraduate days at the University of California, San Diego, where she grapples with her father's death, to Jamie's liaison with a Paris Hilton-like girlfriend, Saffron. Both Jamie and Abby accompany Saffron on a visit to her socialite mother, Josephine, who has retired to an estate in Argentina. There we meet Josephine's French business manager/lover and Katya, a Hungarian hooker and the mother of Josephine's adopted child. And that's just the beginning. An accomplished storyteller, Meloy weaves together these improbable twists without edging into silliness. She even toys with "reality" when Abby writes and publishes a novel that turns out to be Liars and Saints. This new work is enjoyable on its own, but those who have read Meloy's earlier effort can puzzle whether this book is a sequel or a revision. Highly recommended for popular fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/05.]-Reba Leiding, James Madison Univ. Libs., Harrisonburg, VA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

'LIARS AND SAINTSworks on its own as a succinct, intricately plotted four-generational story. The new book is better than the first, but it's hard to separate them. Ms. Meloy's reflections on truth and fiction are best appreciated when the two novels collide... A FAMILY DAUGHTER roams engrossingly from California to Paris to Buenos Aires in ways that make it 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.' -- New York Times 'Both compassionate and gripping,A FAMILY DAUGHTER is a wonderful piece of fiction' -- Books Quarterly (Waterstone's) Book of the month: ' You can't help but be caught up by Meloy's enthralling storytelling which alternates between dramatic narrative swoops and tiny moments of emotional acuity. A truly original piece of work, A FAMILY DAUGHTER is a novel which establishes Meloy as a writer with an imaginative territory as distinctive and finely worked as that of Anne Tyler' -- Marie Claire 20060401 'Elegantly, without detouring into the jokey feedback of metafiction, A FAMILY DAUGHTER reveals how, even in broken families, the idea of upward mobility and the smoothing out mistakes remains hard to shake' -- John Freeman - Scotsman 20060401 'A FAMILY DAUGHTER is the delinquent offspring of Liars and Saints, and deserves similar success' -- Daily Mail 20060401 'This is a deliciously duplicitous book, a darkly perceptive examination of American mores disguised as a light family romance.' -- Sunday Telegraph (Seven) 20060401 'Irresistible! By turns, funny, sad, shocking and heart-warming, this is a gem.' -- Sainsbury's Magazine 20060401 'A sunny slice of Californian Gothic' -- The Independent 20060401 'The Gothic curlicues of Meloy's narrative are tempered by the generosity of her style ! and by the gratefulness of her characterisation' -- Jane Shilling, The Times 20060401 'Meloy's prose and plotting are clear and surefooted ! Meloy can capture a character in a few swift lines' -- Evening Standard 20060401 'Both compassionate and gripping A FAMILY DAUGHTERis a wonderful piece of fiction' -- Waterstone's Books Quarterly 20060401 'Elegantly, without detouring into the jokey feedback of metafiction, A Family Daughter reveals how, even in broken families, the idea of upward mobility and the smoothing out mistakes remains hard to shake' -- Scotsman 20060401 'What she does best ! is to use all her tolerant intelligence to report on the human condition' -- Penny Perrick, Sunday Times 20060401 'Sensational plot developments' -- Tina Jackson, The Metro 20060401 '[Meloy] ... writes wonderfully well, with an efficiency so lithe it's like watching an athlete' -- Guardian 20060401 'A tale worthy of the Greeks ... While there is plenty of feeling its pages, none of it crystallises into sentimentality ... spare, sturdy prose' -- Observer 20060401 'Quiet, unastonished precision ! an impressive achievement' -- Philip Roth 20060401 'A great weekend read' -- Vogue 20060401 'Elegantly written' -- The Gold Coast Bulletin 20060401

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 ? 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. (Feb.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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