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From the author of LIARS AND SAINTS (shortlisted for the Orange Prize and a Richard & Judy Summer Read) comes a wonderful new book exploring extraordinary moments of everyday life
Maile Meloy's first novel, Liars and Saints, was shortlisted for the Orange Prize, and was a Richard and Judy Summer Read.She is also the author of the novel A Family Daughter and the story collection Half in Love.Her stories have been published in The New Yorker, Granta, Prospect, and other publications.In 2007, she was chosen as one of Granta's 21 Best Young American Novelists, and her new collection, Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It, was selected as one of the New York Times Book Review's Ten Best Books of 2009.
Readers drawn to the short story are sometimes disappointed upon reading a collection by a single author, even one they favor. The collection might seem padded, or the voice that struck us as original and engaging becomes boringly familiar halfway through. No such hazard awaits the readers of this new collection. The award-winning Meloy (Half in Love) continues to deliver stories that please and surprise as each narrative's small world unfolds. As one would expect from its cunning title, taken from a poem by A.R. Ammons, this collection features desire in its many, often contradictory elements, encounters that take a character by surprise but hardly make a ripple in anybody else's world. For example, the young Montana ranch hand in "Travis, B," finds himself smitten by the harried young teacher of an adult education class he happens upon just by following people into the classroom building. It's the act of entering the building that frees him, not the unlikely possibility of romance, and the reader comes to know him just as he begins to know himself. VERDICT Readers who have waited impatiently for Meloy's return to this genre, perhaps the one in which Meloy herself seems most at home, have a treat in store.-Sue Russell, Bryn Mawr, PA Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
Meloy (Liars and Saints) hits some high notes in these stories of people juggling conflicting emotions with varying shades of success. In "The Children," a man's resolve to leave his wife for his now-grown children's former swimming instructor is unexpectedly "doomed to ambivalence and desire" when he's confronted by the comforting "habit of his marriage." Marital tensions are also at the heart of "O Tannenbaum," in which a couple, while hunting for a Christmas tree with their daughter, pick up a stranded couple whose bickering casts into relief the cracks in their own relationship. Other pieces focus on loneliness, as in the opening story about a young ranch hand's efforts to connect with a lawyer moonlighting as a night-school teacher, or as in "AgustIn," where an elderly widower yearns for a lost, illicit lover. Meloy's characters frequently leave each other or let each other down, and it is precisely that-their vulnerabilities, failures and flaws-that make them so wonderful to follow as they vacillate between isolation and connection. (July) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
* Brilliant. Helen Fielding * A true and rare find. Richard Ford * Meloy's style is as fresh and brisk as an ocean breeze. Sunday Times * Meloy writes wonderfully well. Guardian * She's such a talented and unpredictable writer that I'm officially joining her fan club. Guardian * Moving, compassionate and amusing. Daily Mail * Clever, calm, funny ... absolutely compulsive. Daily Telegraph * Meloy writes with both fearlessness and true compassion, two talents that are rarely combined. -- Ann Patchett on LIARS AND SAINTS * Meloy writes elegantly and precisely, never wasting a word...a terrific read. -- Time Out on Meloy's HALF IN LOVE * Meloy is able to give convincing voice to a huge range of characters...and she harnesses skilfully the power of the untold secrets that underlie the story. -- Guardian on Meloy's LIARS AND SAINTS * Wise, witty and beautifully written -- Helen Fielding on LIARS AND SAINTS * The opening story in this deft collection could be Annie Proulx, while the last recalls Tobias Wolff ... Maile Meloy has a range and flexibility well beyond her years ... There is an exactitude and simplicity to these assured and beautifully constructed stories, which are often told from the perspective of those who lack much authority over their lives. Observer * One of the best of our contemporary short-story writers, Maile Meloy's star is rapidly rising - and this brilliant collection shows why. Sunday Business Post * Meloy has such a sure handle in what to leave out. Her style is impressively unshowy: it's not even showily unshowy, not seeing the need to draw attention to its pared-down restraint. London Review of Books