The Liars' Club: A Memoir

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“Wickedly funny and always movingly illuminating, thanks to kick-ass storytelling and a poet's ear.” –Oprah.com
 
The New York Times bestselling, hilarious tale of Mary Karr’s hardscrabble Texas childhood that Oprah.com calls the best memoir of a generation.

The Liars’ Club took the world by storm and raised the art of the memoir to an entirely new level, bringing about a dramatic revival of the form. Karr’s comic childhood in an east Texas oil town brings us characters as darkly hilarious as any of J. D. Salinger’s—a hard-drinking daddy, a sister who can talk down the sheriff at age twelve, and an oft-married mother whose accumulated secrets threaten to destroy them all. This unsentimental and profoundly moving account of an apocalyptic childhood is as “funny, lively, and un-put-downable” (USA Today) today as it ever was.
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About the author

Mary Karr kick-started a memoir revolution with The Liars’ Club, which was a New York Times bestseller for over a year, a best book of the year for The New York Times Book Review, The New Yorker, People, and Time, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the winner of prizes from PEN and the Texas Institute of Letters. Karr has won the Whiting Award, Radcliffe’s Bunting Fellowship, and Pushcart Prizes for both verse and essays, and she has been a Guggenheim Fellow in poetry. Her other bestselling books include The Art of Memoir, the memoirs Lit and Cherry, and the poetry collections Sinners Welcome, Viper Rum, The Devil’s Tour, and Abacus. The Peck Professor of Literature at Syracuse University, Karr lives in New York City.
 
Lena Dunham (foreword) is the creator of the critically acclaimed HBO series Girls and the author of the New York Times bestselling essay collection Not That Kind of Girl. A frequent contributor to The New Yorker, she lives in Brooklyn and Los Angeles.

Brian Rea (cover illustrator) is the longtime illustrator for the New York Times’ “Modern Love” column and a former art director for the New York Times op-ed page. His design clients include Kate Spade, Honda, Billabong, Herman Miller, and MTV. Rea lives in Los Angeles.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
May 31, 2005
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Pages
352
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ISBN
9781101650738
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Literary Figures
Biography & Autobiography / Women
History / United States / State & Local / Southwest (AZ, NM, OK, TX)
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Credited with sparking the current memoir explosion, Mary Karr’s The Liars’ Club spent more than a year at the top of the New York Times list. She followed with two other smash bestsellers: Cherry and Lit, which were critical hits as well.

For thirty years Karr has also taught the form, winning teaching prizes at Syracuse.  (The writing program there produced such acclaimed authors as Cheryl Strayed, Keith Gessen, and Koren Zailckas.) In The Art of Memoir, she synthesizes her expertise as professor and therapy patient, writer and spiritual seeker, recovered alcoholic and “black belt sinner,” providing a unique window into the mechanics and art of the form that is as irreverent, insightful, and entertaining as her own work in the genre.

Anchored by excerpts from her favorite memoirs and anecdotes from fellow writers’ experience, The Art of Memoir lays bare Karr’s own process. (Plus all those inside stories about how she dealt with family and friends get told— and the dark spaces in her own skull probed in depth.) As she breaks down the key elements of great literary memoir, she breaks open our concepts of memory and identity, and illuminates the cathartic power of reflecting on the past; anybody with an inner life or complicated history, whether writer or reader, will relate.

Joining such classics as Stephen King’s On Writing and Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, The Art of Memoir is an elegant and accessible exploration of one of today’s most popular literary forms—a tour de force from an accomplished master pulling back the curtain on her craft.

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