The Liars' Club

The Liars Club When it was published in Mary Karr s The Liars Club took the world by storm and raised the art of the memoir to an entirely new level as well as bringing about a dramatic revival of the form Ka

When it was published in 1995, Mary Karr s The Liars Club took the world by storm and raised the art of the memoir to an entirely new level, as well as 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 sheriWhen it was published in 1995, Mary Karr s The Liars Club took the world by storm and raised the art of the memoir to an entirely new level, as well as 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 twelve, and an oft married mother whose accumulated secrets threaten to destroy them all Now with a new introduction that discusses her memoir s impact on her family, 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.

  • The Liars' Club Best Read || [Mary Karr]
    207 Mary Karr
The Liars' Club

  1. Mary Karr is an American poet, essayist and memoirist She rose to fame in 1995 with the publication of her bestselling memoir The Liars Club She is the Peck Professor of English Literature at Syracuse University.Karr was born January 16, 1955, in Groves, a small town in East Texas located in the Port Arthur region, known for its oil refineries and chemical plants, to J P and Charlie Marie Moore Karr In her memoirs, Karr calls the town Leechfield Karr s father worked in an oil refinery while her mother was an amateur artist and business owner.The Liars Club, published in 1995, was a New York Times bestseller for over a year, and was named one of the year s best books It delves vividly and often humorously into her deeply troubled childhood, most of which was spent in a gritty, industrial section of Southeast Texas in the 1960s She was encouraged to write her personal history by her friend, author Tobias Wolff, but has said she only took up the project when her marriage fell apart.She followed the book with another memoir, Cherry 2000 , about her late adolescence and early womanhood A third memoir, Lit, which she says details my journey from blackbelt sinner and lifelong agnostic to unlikely Catholic, came out in November 2009.Karr thinks of herself first and foremost as a poet She was a Guggenheim Fellow in poetry in 2005 and has won Pushcart prizes for both her poetry and her essays Karr has published four volumes of poetry Abacus Wesleyan University Press, CT, 1987, in its New Poets series , The Devil s Tour New Directions NY, 1993, an original TPB , Viper Rum New Directions NY, 1998, an original TPB , and her new volume Sinners Welcome HarperCollins, NY 2006 Her poems have appeared in major literary magazines such as Poetry, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic Monthly.She is a controversial figure in the American poetry establishment, thanks to her Pushcart award winning essay, Against Decoration, which was originally published in the quarterly review Parnassus 1991 and later reprinted in Viper Rum In this essay Karr took a stand in favor of content over poetic style She argued emotions need to be directly expressed, and clarity should be a watch word characters are too obscure, the presented physical world is often foggy that is imprecise , references are showy both non germane and overused , metaphors over shadow expected meaning, and techniques of language polysyllables, archaic words, intricate syntax, yards of adjectives only slow a reader s understanding Karr directly criticized well known, well connected, and award winning poets such as James Merrill, Amy Clampitt, Vijay Seshadri, and Rosanna Warren daughter of Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Penn Warren Karr favors controlled elegance to create transcendent poetic meaning out of not quite ordinary moments, presenting James Merrill s Charles on Fire as a successful example.While some ornamentations Karr rails against are due to shifting taste, she believes much is due to the revolt against formalism which substituted sheer ornamentation for the discipline of meter Karr notes Randall Jarrell said much the same thing, albeit decorously, nearly fifty years ago Her essay is meant to provide the technical detail to Jarrell s argument As a result of this essay Karr earned a reputation for being both courageous and combative, a matured version of the BB gun toting little hellion limned in The Liars Club.Another essay, Facing Altars Poetry and Prayer , was originally published in Poetry 2005 Karr tells of moving from agnostic alcoholic to baptized Catholic of the decidedly cafeteria kind, yet one who prays twice daily with loud fervor from her foxhole In this essay Karr argues that poetry and prayer arise from the same sources within us.

908 Reply to “The Liars' Club”

  1. I don t write a lot of customer reviews And when I finished this book, I didn t think it needed my review For one thing, I m probably the last person in the hemisphere to read it for another, this book is so good and has been popular for so long that its ratings must be sky high, right At the time that I m writing this review, the rating is 3.88 Over 2000 people gave it one or two stars People, for real What are you looking for in a book Karr has given you a gem, a freaking gem She s got a poet [...]

  2. Posted at Shelf InflictedAfter reading Will s intriguing review of Lit A Memoir, I decided it was time to explore Mary Karr s work, so I went to the library and borrowed The Liars Club Written in 1995, this memoir explores the author s dysfunctional childhood in sweltering and swampy Leechfield, Texas.Though Mary Karr and I did not have similar childhoods, there were definitely certain life situations and reactions to them that I could relate to and I came to realize that no matter how different [...]

  3. Much praise has been written about Mary Karr s uniqe poetic voice But, honestly I found very little that was special about Mary Karr Her writing style seems jarring she has no problem jumping around in time in the middle of a paragraph I also found it difficult to be compelled with her story It was a story about growing up poor in a industrial town in Texas I bet 30 other kids from that same town could have written a very similar book Her prose was bland and it was evident that she didn t like h [...]

  4. The Liars Club is Mary Karr s memoir of her childhood growing up in a small, east Texas oil town, and was first published in 1995 The thought of how this woman s writing has managed to escape me until two weeks ago is unnerving I blame all of you, actually, for not telling me about her sooner Jesus and the angels will help me recover from this most bitter betrayal.From the first page of this book I was sucked in I had to sleep with it next to my head on my pillow and carry it around with me at a [...]

  5. I am confoundingly happy that poets can also be great novelists Better yet, sometimes expert autobiographers.Shares the same bookshelf with Jeanette Walls also impressive nonfiction The Glass Castle.

  6. Warning This review contains spoilers.To start out with, I find the title somewhat misleading The Liars Club is the author s father and his drinking buddies Yet this book is not only about this group of alcoholics Thus, the title does not really cover the whole book Yet this is the smallest beef I have with this book.I SOLEMNLY SWEAR that I ll try really hard to never ever read a bestseller again unless it is a classic that has stood the test of time The Liars Club is a bestseller Stephen King h [...]

  7. Re read I stand by the five star rating Karr s voice is pure, poetic and real Though my childhood was nothing like hers, the bits which I identify with stir up an amazing welter of emotions and ghosts for me I fall overboard into this memoir and can smell the East Texas refinery town just like I d grown up there Karr s description of her mother s Nervousness is priceless and heartwrenching The whole book is beautifully written, so much so that one hardly realizes how deeply dysfunctional the fam [...]

  8. Story Tellers and PoodlesMary Karr s father was a working class Texan who belonged to a group of ex servicemen who hung out together at an American Legion poolroom and bar, drinking, shooting pool, playing cards and dominoes, and telling stories, some melancholy, some humorous, some real, some imagined, some tall, some short, hence the name given to them by one of their wives, the Liars Club.Daddy achieved the rank of sergeant and declined a promotion as a result of his battlefield courage, beca [...]

  9. I had heard a great deal about Mary Karr s _The Liars Club_ before I read it _The Liars Club_ is considered one of the groundbreaking books in the current memoir movement, and there is much for a writer to learn from it, both things to steal and things to avoid.To steal, of course, are the humor and honesty One of my favorite moments occurs when Karr explains that she and her sister misheard the phrase It ain t the heat, it s the humidity for years, believing people said, It ain t the heat, it s [...]

  10. After reading Mary Karr s The Art of Memoir, I decided to give her memoirs another try Instead of starting with Lit, a book I had already abandoned, I decided to start with Cherry because it was 50 cents at a book sale Just a few pages in it became clear that the author was continuing her story that she d started in The Liars Club, so I went back to the beginning.I think well written memoir pulls you in by finding common ground Was I surprised to find common ground with a child of east Texas 196 [...]

  11. I fully anticipated that I would love this book Almost everyone else has And has then gone on to love her two subsequent memoirs But, I have to say, I probably found the 10th Anniversary Foreword and the last chapter when the reader finds out, at least in part, why her mother is so insane the most compelling The rest of it I just couldn t get into It s not that nothing happens because plenty does but at times I felt like SO MUCH happened that the reader wasn t given any clue as to what was actua [...]

  12. The tragic life of two sisters, as told by the younger sister, in a small East Texas Total dysfunction and quite sad The author writes of every bad detail with no good news between the lines The final chapters will bring some explanation for their terrible upbringing The reviews on the back of this book claim it to be wickedly funny , astonishing, moving memoir , howling misery and howling laughter, with the reader veering towards howling laughter , and, a crazy family tormented by unspoken sorr [...]

  13. NOTE THE LIARS CLUB four star rating does not mean that I really liked it I usually love memoirs Well, not ones written by narcissists or liars If I were young enough to have read Mary Karr s THE LIARS CLUB 1995 when I was in my early twenties, I might well have appreciated it to the extent that the work deserves Alas, another if Unfortunately, I ve grown old, old enough to wear my trousers rolled T.S Eliot And in the past year, this old person has read too much material fiction and nonfiction t [...]

  14. Like many of the low star reviewers, I really wanted to love this book because it was recommended to me by a friend and colleague But it did not hold my interest and I found myself not especially wanting to return to it I kept at it, though, because I expected it to improve and wanted to have the complete picture before rendering judgment In the end, for me it fell flat.The writing, while sometimes clever and often humorous, utterly lacked any richness of emotion I think that is why I could not [...]

  15. This is the first of three memoirs that make up her life in the small refinery town of Leechfield nee Groves Texas The Liar s Club is a reference to Karr s father a bigger than life character who spent his adult life working for Gulf or some other refinery in this backwater east Texas town best known as the place where Agent Orange was produced The books name derives from her father s penchant for drinking and telling famously big tales to his friends Cooter et al who relish his role as the head [...]

  16. What a book Mary Karr is salty and funny and brilliant and fierce Such a big, big voice She even made the last section work and I was skeptical about a time jump Fuck the haters who call this just another misery memoir It s too funny to be truly miserable There s a reason why people still read this memoir decades later.

  17. A woman covers up a secret younger life when she marries or remarries and has two children Yet the trauma of that life follows her The result is this memoir from one of her daughters whose Texas and Colorado childhood is laced with remnants of her mother s former life and other self because her mother seems to be two people You know, the choices of the mother affects the daughter thing This is a young girl s story of living with parents who suffer from mental illness and alcoholism I would add P [...]

  18. This read like a Lifetime movie Only instead of based on a true story, it actually is a true story.And it s supposed to be funny I really didn t see any humor in it a lot I even have a dark sense of humor, but sorry, reading about how the author gets raped twice before the age of 10 and her mother goes crazy and scribbles out her face in lipstick and sets a huge gasoline fire in the backyard and burns all of her paintings and her two children s clothing and toys and all the violence that was goi [...]

  19. The first sentence in Stephen King s On Writing praises Mary Karr s The Liars Club as an example of excellent writing So I thought recommendation from a good source It is a painful coming of age autobiographical narrative written from the adult author s point of view Impossible as it may seem, it is told with look back wisdom, love, and hard humor Karr is an excellent writer I thoroughly enjoyed the book and wholeheartedly recommend it.

  20. 2 5 Se me ha hecho largu simo y pesado,solo lo he terminado por enterarme de una vez del motivo de una madre tan chalada y hasta casi el mismo final no lo cuenta.No me ha llegado,no me ha impresionado ni emocionado La autora tambi n resulta un poco ca tica escribiendo saltando de un lado a otro,de una poca a otra un poco sin ton ni son.Ha intentado dar la visi n de los hechos tal y como los vivi en su momento y el resultado es que una visita al zoo con su madre y su hermana dura p ginas y p gina [...]

  21. That s how God answered my prayers I learned to make us all into cartoons There s something to be said about a memoir written by an actual writer I know you know what I mean Karr s descriptions make you feel like you re in the story, like you knew her family Her writing is raw, but lovely I m a fan.

  22. This memoir covers Mary Karr s childhood years to about her teens with some later teen early 20s at the end I ve read her other books and not been as impressed, but The Liar s Club is great writing about growing up in a strange family in an East Texas oil town, in the 60s 70s Her dad is an oil field worker who is a great, loving father, but with a drinking problem, violent streaks, and her mother is an artist with clear mental health problems who doesn t fit in a little town in East Texas I like [...]

  23. Cuando la verdad resulta insoportable, es muy com n que la mente la elimine Leyendo esta frase de la novela me resulta curiosa la homofon a de las palabras mente y mentira Y es justamente lo contrario lo que hace este libro, eliminar la mentira para que salga a flote la miseria moral de la historia de una familia, pero tambi n de un pa s salvaje e injusto Estas memorias de infancia de la autora, que con el artificio, en el buen sentido de la palabra, de una prosa meticulosa de la mejor ficci n, [...]

  24. So that s how you end a memoir Case closed.I can t imagine the restraint and discipline required to write this book Karr doesn t really tell you a damn thing She lets the questions accrue, and you go along for the ride as they spool There are so many questions Wait, what the that you forget about half of them And she never mentions any of them explicitly anyway, as in I always wondered about Nope She doesn t really explain You re just in this fog of incident and chronology, the shallow world of [...]

  25. This book has compelling images and moves along quickly After reading about half of it, though, I realized that I was really irritated by the voice She doesn t have much grace, and the wisdom she professes to have doesn t ring true I started to feel very manipulated She has plenty of painful memories, and she writes about them with a lot of sensory detail But I didn t come away with a sense that she had made peace with her past, nor that she had a greater understanding of what life was all about [...]

  26. An incredible book a perfect story about the lives of imperfect people If you have any interest in what small towns are really like, the absolute unvarnished truth, this is it I can t believe how much I love this book.

  27. A book from the memoir craze, but really compelling in its starkness, and spare, truthful writing A glimpse into what it s like to grow up in a sickening, ugly East Texas town actually called Leechfield with a crazy, alcoholic mother and an oil drillin father Not schmaltzy or self pitying for one second My favorite scene is where the mother decides she doesn t want to be a fucking hausfrau any and proceeds to paint all the mirrors in the house with lipstick, cover her own face with lipstick, and [...]

  28. Idly picked up and it just took me overI m actually about halfway through now and Karr is just hitting every note, some blue and some grace notes, but one gets the feeling she s on the solo of her lifed she didn t falter as the narrative went from bad to worse I mean, it probably wasn t peaches and cream starting out in broke, dusty, barren nowheresville Texas and surrounded by sweat, bleakness and oil fields.But you throw in some low food stability and some angry, drunken, fiery to the point of [...]

  29. Tengo un problema con El club de los mentirosos Todo el mundo lo pone estupendamente y tienen motivos grandes personajes, humor negro, pasajes dolorosos y tremebundosEst muy bien escrito y a veces piensas qu humano, qu aut ntico todo Pero, de 500 p ginas, me mantuve realmente interesado en 150 por delante y otras tantas por detr s Y el final, aunque no pod a ser otro, algo anticlim tico.

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