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Liars and Saints [Paperback]

Maile Meloy
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)

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First Sentence
THEY WERE MARRIED during the war, in Santa Barbara, after Mass one morning in the old Mission church. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lots of Promise But No Substance July 8 2004
I truly WANTED to like this novel more. The idea was compelling: several generations of Catholic guilt and a snapshot of the changing times. But I felt as if I were quickly turning the pages of a photo album without lingering too long on any one photo. Here's Abby: she's born, she's pregnant, she dies. But who IS Abby? What is her essence? Just when I began to become acquainted with a character, he or she was thrust into the background as another one appeared. The result: I never became emotionally invested in any of them. There's promise here, but not enough substance.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great seller! May 14 2013
By kikiken
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Great communication, good shipping time, would definitely purchase from this seller again in the future. Very happy with my purchase.The product was listed as "Like New", but it looks more like it's brand new, I was pleasantly surprised. Thank you :-)
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C'est la vie say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell.
Starting with a tempestuous World War II wedding of Canadian Acadian French Yvette to Teddy Santerre, and ending an inbred 4th generation later, Maile Meloy's family saga is a rollicking, roiling ride through the USA in the 20th century - with a pilgrimage to the Vatican and audience with Pope. (Interesting sidebar learned while cruising with the familia Santerre: Teddy Kennedy received his First Communion from the Pope?)
Meloy could have drawn out this saga for hundreds of tear-jerking, soul-searching, Catholic- guilt- coated pages, but, thankfully, her style is brisk, bouncing chronologically one step forward and two steps back. It is a fine and gripping foray through many cultural taboos - sex, incest, religion and politics. /TundraVision, Amazon Reviewer
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2.0 out of 5 stars Promising writer, not yet a novelist June 29 2004
By A Customer
Four generations of a family in only 250 pages just doesn't work. The characters and the plot had tremendous but unrealized potential; the author just didn't flesh them out enough to make you care. I was sorry that I started the book. There were points to admire but they were completely overwhelmed and negated by the missed opportunities. This writer hasn't arrived yet and your time would be better spent elsewhere.
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3.0 out of 5 stars More promising than genuinely good June 14 2004
LIARS AND SAINTS shows growth in comparison to Maile Meloy's relentlessly bleak debut collection HALF IN LOVE, with much more humor and a better ear for dialogue. Unfortunately, silly melodramatic elements intrude on the book's final third, culminating in a scene that's supposed to be shocking in its senseless violence but reads more like Meloy thought, "Okay, let's wrap this up." Maile Meloy shows great promise as a novelist, but she's not there yet.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly unusual May 26 2004
By A Customer
What struck me first about this riveting novel was its form. Few will notice or care about this, simply looking for a "good story." But Maile Meloy has really done something remarkable with regards to the "layout" of the book. Starting with a wedding, and ending with a funeral, the tone is set for . . . well . . . life--everything in between. The sheer beauty of this idea reminded me of a book by J.T. McCrae--The Bark of the Dogwood--where form is also a key to the progression of events and characters. More attention should be paid to this sort of thing, for it really separates the men from the boys when it comes to building a great work of fiction such as "Liars and Saints."
Writing about family sagas and family secrets is nothing new, but the masterful telling and again "form" of this book really made it stand out for me from the other mediocre reads that pepper the lists. With each new decade, Meloy manages to paint a different portrait of the family, building to a wonderful crescendo and satisfying conclusion. And if you think that's par for the course, you haven't read much, for many authors today simply ingore the rules of good writing. Meloy is, in a sense, old-fashioned in that the treatment of the plot, characters, and settings, is all interwoven. And while this may sound academic, it's not. Few authors, whether trained or not, achieve this level of reader satisfaction.
With its rich textures of myriad lives over vast periods of time and the excellent writing, this book will surely become one of the bestsellers.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An exceptional read May 20 2004
By A Customer
An American friend sent me a copy of LIARS AND SAINTS and I was completely captivated and read it in one sitting. It shows very movingly how the impact of a single action is felt through three generations of a family, sometimes even unconsciously. Although quite a broad sweep of time is covered (1950s - 1990s), the different decades are evoked very skilfully and each character is believably of their time. I think this novel brings together the very best aspects of short story and novel-writing: the characters leave wonderfully clear impressions without the reader being over-burdened with too much detail. The simplicity of Maile Meloy's writing should not be mistaken for a lack of complexity overall; this is a novel which satisfies on many levels and the combination of light prose and compelling plot are exactly what make it such a rewarding read.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Nothing Special May 12 2004
By A Customer
I found it impossible to get involved with the two-dimensional characters. This book went, unfinished, back to the library. I'm glad I didn't buy it.
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