Monday, July 23, 2007

THE LIAR'S CLUB by Mary Karr (1995)

I picked up this memoir because Stephen King remarks about Karr's extraordinary ability to recreate her childhood with exceptional detail in his biblical tract ON WRITING. I love that she begins with a quotation from Pound's CANTOS--"nothing matters but the quality of the affection in the end that has carved the trace in the mind." So much of what follows is removed from that affection, because Karr's childhood is one rife with horrors great and small.

She leaps right in with a sharp, dark memory when she is seven or eight and being asked by the family doctor to "show me the marks. Please? Just pull this up and show me where it hurts." So much of Karr's narrative hurts. Yet, she has a remarkable way of offering up what happened without blame. That she is able to forgive her mother her outrageously irresponsible behaviour is reason enough to read THE LIAR'S CLUB to negotiate similar paths of forgiveness.

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