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 collection Sinners Welcome, Viper Rum, The Devil's Tour, and Abacus. The Peck Professor of Literature at Syracuse University, Karr lives in New York City.
Although Karr, a prize-winning poet (The Devil's Tour) survived a nightmarish childhood with a violent father and an alcoholic mother who married six times, she bears neither parent any animosity in this candid and humorous memoir. Karr and her older sister grew up in an east Texas oil town where they learned to cope with their mother's psychotic episodes, the ostracism by neighbors and their father's frequent absences. Karr's happiest times were the afternoons she spent at the ``Liars' Club,'' where her father and a group of men drank and traded boastful stories. Raped by a teenager when she was eight and sexually abused by a male babysitter, she developed a fighting spirit and impressed schoolmates with her toughness. Karr vividly details her parents' divorce and eventual remarriage, as well as her father's deterioration after a stroke. It is evident that she views her parents with affection and an unusual understanding of their weaknesses. First serial to Esquire. (June)
The essential American story ... a beauty. --Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post Book WorldAstonishing ... one of the most dazzling and moving memoirs to come along in years. --Michiko Kakutani, The New York TimesThis book is so good I thought about sending it out for a backup opinion...it's like finding Beethoven in Hoboken. To have a poet's precision of language and a poet's insight into people applied to one of the roughest, toughest, ugliest places in America is an astonishing event. --Molly Ivins, The Nation9mm humor, gothic wit, and a stunning clarity of memory within a poet's vision.... Karr's unerring scrutiny of her childhood delivers a story confoundingly real. --The Boston Sunday GlobeOverflows with sparkling wit and humor.... Truth beats powerfully at the heart of this dazzling memoir. --San Francisco Chronicle