a family daughter

A Novel

A Family Daughter revisits the Santerre clan from Liars and Saints. It opens in 1979, when seven-year-old Abby, the youngest member of the close-knit family, is trapped indoors with chicken pox during a heat wave. The events set in motion that summer span decades and continents—irrevocably changing the lives of the Santerres and those around them.

Indie Bound
Barnes & Noble

“A thoroughly original and undeniably brilliant companion piece to Meloy’s debut novel, Liars and Saints. Each novel stands alone; together they pack a seismic wallop.”
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“In evanescent scenes distinguished by clean, wry prose, Meloy observes the Santerre family, whom readers met in 2003’s Liars and Saints, from a crafty new angle. Meloy shifts point of view fluently, and though her characters weather all sorts of melodrama, the novel itself feels light—poignant and affecting, meaningful yet somehow weightless.” 
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Fans of Meloy’s previous novel, Liars and Saints, will be delighted with her latest effort. An accomplished storyteller, Meloy weaves together improbable twists without edging into silliness. This new work is enjoyable on its own, but those who have read Meloy’s earlier effort can puzzle whether this book is a sequel or a revision.” 
— Library Journal

“In her dazzling second novel, Meloy continues the story of the Santerre family, introduced in her first, Liars and Saints (2003). Riveting and engrossing, Meloy’s tale of a family struggling with guilt and forgiveness spans decades and crosses continents, proving her status as one of the best literary observers of contemporary American life.” 
— Booklist (starred review)

“Enveloping… intimate… Her characters are drawn sparingly, but they leap off the page… one of this book’s most impressive aspects is the author’s ability to keep the narrative moving from character to character with its momentum unimpaired…. A Family Daughter roams engrossingly from California to Paris to Buenos Aires in ways that make it a big book as well as a swift, slender, graceful one…. Has the deep ramifications of more ambitious fiction. It also shoulders the full weight of a vivid, mercurial, flesh-and-blood Roman Catholic family…” 
—  The New York Times

“Rich, moving and full of human comedy… [Meloy] is an enormously empathetic writer.” 
—  The New York Times Book Review

“A seductive, absorbing read. With ease and fluidity, Meloy gracefully pirouettes from one consciousness to another, from narrative summary to slice-of-life vignettes that provide scope and immediacy. The tone is by turns wry, ironic, affectionate - and consistently engaging... Meloy has shown herself to be a luminous writer.” 
— The Philadelphia Inquirer

“A straightforward, beautifully told saga of the Santerre family…composed of all sorts of hidden layers.” 
— W Magazine

“[Meloy is] a wise and astonishing conjurer of convincing realities.” 
— The New Yorker

“Maile Meloy’s clear-eyed, well-written soap opera of a novel follows multiple generations of a Catholic family adept at keeping secrets. You’ll ache for them as if they were your own family—then thank God they’re not!” 
— Marie Claire

“Meloy creates characters whose internal dialogues and dilemmas make them seem fully human. Many moments shortcut to the quick…These moments ensure that the Santerres stay with you: Theirs is a universal need to feel part of something bigger, something that—however flawed—can bend without breaking.” 
— People

“Meloy is subtle and playful in dramatizing her characters’ responses…[she] nudges… us into confronting how hard it is to disentangle what we consider our real lives from the stories—the secrets, lies, evasions, inventions—about them that we create for ourselves. Without aspiring to join a pantheon of postmodern virtuosos, Meloy alerts readers that perspectives are slippery, experience deals out surprises no one can plan for, truth is strange and so is fiction, and the two can be hard to distinguish, in art as in life. Imagination, her fiction reminds us, isn’t a crutch. It’s the compass, however wavering, without which we would be truly lost.” 
— Slate

“The outlandish alliances here are surprisingly poignant in Meloy’s evenhanded narration, in which all the characters are both afflicted and connected by complex varieties of love.” 
— Baltimore Sun

“The Santerre family…includes so many appealing personalities, with all the dreams, hopes and foibles of people we have loved at one time or another. Relationships and secrets fuel the plot; it’s the kind of novel that makes a reader mutter ridiculous things out loud, such as, ‘Not her, you idiot, you’re supposed to be with him!’” 
— Los Angeles Times

“[Meloy] manages, somehow, to balance edgy hipness and poignant wisdom. Best of all, although Meloy writes in the genre sometimes called “domestic realism” — a category broad and vague enough to include E.M. Forster, Jane Austen and Anne Tyler — she sounds like no one except herself. And that’s cause for rejoicing. Meloy’s work is a find for fiction readers who search for that elusive combination: the novel of literary merit that moves so fast you can’t put it down…the results are often dazzling and endlessly intriguing. Like all the best fiction, A Family Daughter tells us something about ourselves, and something about the world.” 
— Buffalo News

“The true miracle of A Family Daughter is that it successfully borrows metafictional technique —a popular hangout for the slick, the disaffected or the otherwise absurdly bright postmodernists brimming with self-awareness —to tell a straightforward humanist story.” 
— The Portland Oregonian

"[Meloy] has written a broadly imagined intergenerational novel that reads like a funny, quirky bildungsroman. With its big canvas, its easy tone and its slapdash tragedies, A Family Daughter is a great California novel... We also want to keep listening to all the appealing voices. The author has always been good at imagining the inner lives of people unlike herself — she spreads the insights and the jokes around, so she never loses our interest even as she leaps from perspective to perspective... She writes like a woman who can't resist her passionate interest in how families work." 
— Newsday

“Readers should not miss out on any of Meloy’s works, for reading both novels will provide them with food for thought about the thieving nature of the alternative universe that is fiction.”
— San Francisco Chronicle

“‘Dazzling’ is a word perhaps too promiscuously employed by book reviewers, but in this case, I think it entirely applicable…More than a writer to watch, Maile Meloy is a writer to read.” 
— Toronto Globe and Mail