Thoughtful Thursday: Maile Meloy

Happy New Year! I have high hopes for 2009. Then again, I say that every year. I try really hard to be an optimist and seek out the positive. I’m not always very successful at it, but at least I keep trying. Every January one of my resolutions is to keep reading. This is included on my list of resolutions because it’s one I actually don’t have much trouble keeping. And let’s face it, everyone needs to feel successful once in a while. A good friend once told me that in order to be a good writer (which is something to which I have long aspired), you need to read…and read…and read some more…and read differently. My favorite authors are the ones that kick up a notch my desire to write. It is so much more difficult that it seems like it would be.

Maile Meloy is one of those authors for me. I’m referencing the author first today because this post is about two of her novels. They go together in the sense that they are about the same people, but they can also stand alone because they tell such different stories. I read them backwards since I didn’t realize the first one I read was actually the continuation of the story. Now I’m finishing the first one, and I’m thinking maybe it’s more interesting that I already know what happens with these people later in life.

The first one is called Liars and Saints. The continuation is A Family Daughter. Meloy has also published a collection of stories that I’d like to try to get around to reading sometime.

liars family

I don’t feel like I’m very good at describing books, so I will leave you with this excerpt of a Booklist review: “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.” In my opinion, Maile Meloy and Jonathan Franzen are the absolute best at writing about families, with all their flaws and idiosyncracies, and still creating characters with whom you can sympathize. Much like our own families and close friends, they may drive you crazy at times, but there’s a reason you still love them.

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