Set in California, Liars and Saints follows four generations of the Catholic Santerre family from World War II to the present. In a family driven as much by jealousy and propriety as by love, an unspoken tradition of deceit is passed from generation to generation. When tragedy shatters their precarious domestic lives, it takes astonishing courage and compassion to bring them back together.
By turns funny and disturbing, irreverent and profound, Liars and Saints is a masterful display of Maile Meloy's prodigious gifts and of her penetrating insight into an extraordinary American family and into the nature of human love. "Meloy may be the first great American realist of the twenty-first century: The Santerres aren't real but they feel like they are, and the reader will not soon forget them" (The Boston Globe).
Liars and Saints
A saga that spans five decades, this multigenerational tale follows the lives of the Santerre family, a Catholic clan living in California. Yvette and Teddy, a marine who served in World War II, struggle with their 16-year-old daughter, who threatens to bring scandal upon the family when she becomes pregnant. To save face, Yvette claims the baby as her ownone of many family deceptions that occur. Presented in brief chapters narrated by various family members, the novel presents the reader with a kaleidoscopic look at the Santerres. The voices Meloy conjures here are authentic and fresh, and she does an expert job of capturing the tensions of the times, bringing to life the cultural tumult of the 1960s and '70s. Best of all, she writes with wisdom and generosity about the quirks and complexities of family life.