A stunning collection of stories from Maile Meloy, for all those who loved her Richard and Judy summer read, Liars and Saints
Maile Meloy was born in Montana and now lives in California. Her first novel, Liars and Saints won acclaim on publication and was selected for Richard & Judy's Summer Read. Her second novel, A Family Daughter, was published by John Murray in February 2006.
Meloy's debut of 15 stories is set mostly in the American West and focuses on its rugged inhabitants. It is their vulnerability that captures Meloy's imagination, as she portrays characters caught in moments of crisis, upheaval, and change. "Ranch Girl," a coming-of-age story, is about a young woman born and raised on a ranch who must choose between staying with her familiar life or going out into the wider world. "Four Lean Hounds, ca. 1976" is a tender story about the deep friendship of two couples. The husbands own an underwater welding business, and on a job together one of them drowns. The survivor blames himself for his friend's death and is further guilt-ridden by the attraction he feels for his dead friend's widow. Other stories go beyond the Western milieu, venturing into Europe during World War II and more. Meloy, who has been published in The New Yorker, the Paris Review, and other journals, is in complete control of her material. Her stories have a potent immediacy that makes them believable and heart-wrenching. Recommended. Marcia Tager, Tenafly, NJ Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
'Meloy writes in a compelling style. She plucks run of the mill lives out of the ether and weaves them into an interesting yarn.' -- Dover Express/Folkestone Herald 20050303 'Beautifully written' -- Harper's Bazaar 'A sparkling debut collection of tight, watchful stories... by the end the power of storytelling has made itself felt' -- New York Times 'In every story she creates a complex portrait of such disparate lives that by the end of the book I feel like I've seen the world. Half in Love is a vibrant, gorgeous collection' -- Ann Patchett 'Absolutely compulsive' -- The Daily Telegraph on LIARS AND SAINTS 'A natural, who consistently widens and extend the short story form to meet the demands of her uncommon intelligence and wit and sympathy' -- Richard Ford 'Wistful tales of love lost and found' -- Mail on Sunday 20050327 'Meloy writes elegantly and precisely, never wasting a word... a terrific read' -- Time Out on LIARS AND SAINTS 20050327
The 14 stories in Meloy's confident, polished debut tell the tales of many different people lawyers, ranchers, ex-pats and school girls often as, in moments of clarity, their understanding of their place in the world poignantly shifts. In the spare, haunting "Four Lean Hounds, ca. 1976," a young man mourns the drowning of his best friend and his wife's infidelity, even as he realizes that "all he could hate his friend for was that [he] had been loved." In "Thirteen and a Half," a homely girl briefly singled out by an unfamiliar and dangerous boy at a school dance registers his choice as something akin to a life-altering serendipity, as she watches him vanish "among the boys who were just boys, who meant nothing to her, boys she saw every day of her life." Death both animal and human, either experienced or imminent plays a part in many of Meloy's stories. A champion colt's terrible frostbite complicates an already knotty marriage in the heartbreaking "Kite Whistler Aquamarine," while a father's terminal cancer gives his daughter a different understanding of what's fair and what should be risked in "A Stakes Horse." "Ranch Girl," one of the 10 stories Meloy sets in her native West, is one of her strongest and sharpest: "If you're white, and you're not rich or poor but somewhere in the middle, it's hard to have worse luck than to be born a girl on a ranch," the narrator says, even as she refuses to leave. Though Meloy leans toward minimalism and a few of the stories seem pinched as a result she is a fluid, confident and talented writer capable of moments of true grace. (July) Forecast: Readers of the New Yorker and the Paris Review may recognize Meloy's name; others will be drawn by blurbs from Richard Ford, Geoffrey Wolff and Ann Patchett. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.