Tuesday, January 19, 2010 - Two books at one time

Post date: Nov 20, 2009 2:51:52 PM

The Book Group's discussion of 'Eat, Pray, Love' was very enjoyable. For the most part, everyone enjoyed the story and we had a great dicussuion about why some people loved the book, and others hated it. Kim also advised us that there is a parody out there with a title that isn't suitable for this web site (the first two words in the title are 'Drink, Play. . .) , but may be worth it if you're looking for a good laugh.

For our next meeting, we are actually reading two books by the same author, Maile Meloy :

Liars and Saints

Set in California, Liars and Saints follows four generations of the Catholic Santerre family from World War II to the present. The secrets they keep from each other —out of jealousy and propriety and love—are compounded from generation to generation. When tragedy shatters their precarious domestic lives, it takes courage and compassion to bring them back together.

A Family Daughter

It's 1979, and seven-year-old Abby, the youngest member of the 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, as the Santerres become entangled with an aging French playboy, a young eastern European prostitute, a spoiled heiress, and her ailing, jet-set mother.

Why are we reading two books for one meeting, well that's best answered by the author's explanation of how these two books fit together:

I wrote Liars and Saints first, with no thought of writing another novel about the Santerre family. I really thought I was finished with them. It wasn’t until after Liars and Saints came out that I started thinking about writing a book about someone who’s written a novel, and about the way people wonder what’s true in it. Then it seemed interesting to have one of the secret-keeping Santerres write one, so that A Family Daughter would seem to be the bigger, messier, less-streamlined source material that Liars and Saints came from.

Everything I’d written until then had been very straightforwardly realistic, and this new novel would have a meta-fictional aspect to it, but only in relation to the other book. A Family Daughteralso had to work on its own, if you hadn’t read Liars and Saints. The mental exercise of doing both things at once seemed interesting and entertaining to me (and you have to find things that are interesting and entertaining to you, if you’re going to plug away at a novel.)

The people who seem to have had the best experience of the two books are the ones who let a little time pass—enough time to read another book—in between.

Enjoy the holidays, read lots and hope to see you in January!