Lit LP: A Memoir (Paperback)

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Indie Next List

November 2009
Once you've read Mary Karr's The Liar's Club, how can you not read her latest to find out how it turns out? This fine American writer continues her journey through college, marriage, and young motherhood, offering her hard-won experience in recovery from depression and alcoholism. -- Andy Lillich, University of Oregon Bookstore, Eugene, OR


The Liars' Club brought to vivid, indelible life Mary Karr's hardscrabble Texas childhood. Cherry, her account of her adolescence, "continued to set the literary standard for making the personal universal" (Entertainment Weekly). Now Lit follows the self-professed blackbelt sinner's descent into the inferno of alcoholism and madness—and to her astonishing resurrection.

Karr's longing for a solid family seems secure when her marriage to a handsome, Shakespeare-quoting blueblood poet produces a son they adore. But she can't outrun her apocalyptic past. She drinks herself into the same numbness that nearly devoured her charismatic but troubled mother, reaching the brink of suicide. A hair-raising stint in "The Mental Marriott," with an oddball tribe of gurus and saviors, awakens her to the possibility of joy and leads her to an unlikely faith. Not since Saint Augustine cried, "Give me chastity, Lord—but not yet!" has a conversion story rung with such dark hilarity.

Lit is about getting drunk and getting sober; becoming a mother by letting go of a mother; learning to write by learning to live. Written with Karr's relentless honesty, unflinching self-scrutiny, and irreverent, lacerating humor, it is a truly electrifying story of how to grow up—as only Mary Karr can tell it.

About the Author

Mary Karr is a Guggenheim Fellow in poetry. She has won Pushcart Prizes for both verse and essays, and is the Peck Professor of Literature at Syracuse University. Her previous two memoirs, The Liars' Club and Cherry, were New York Times bestsellers.

Praise for Lit LP: A Memoir…

eoeIrresistible. . . . [Written] with trademark wit, precision, and unfailing courage.e
-Pam Houston, O Magazine

eoeA brutally honest, sparkling story.e

-Redbook Magazine

eoeMary Karr sparked a memoir revival with The Liarse(TM) Club-now shee(TM)s back with Lit to describe how she turned those early troubles into literary gold.e
-Body + Soul

eoeAn absolute gem that secures Karre(TM)s place as one of the best memoirists of her generation. . . . [She] writes with a singular combination of poetic grace and Texan verve.e
-Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

eoe[Karre(TM)s] poetic sensibility infuses every sentence of her story with an alliterative and symbolic energy, conjuring echoes of poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, and occasionally, Sylvia Plath.e
-Publishers Weekly

eoeHer tale is riveting, her style clear-eyed and frank. That Karr survived the emotional and physical journey she regales her readers with to become the evenhanded, self-disciplined writer she is today is arguably nothing short of a miracle, and readers of her previous two books wone(TM)t be disappointed.e
-Library Journal

eoeSearing. . . . A book that lassos you, hogties your emotions and wone(TM)t let you go. . . . Chronicles with searching intelligence, humor and grace the authore(TM)s slow, sometimes exhilarating, sometimes painful discovery of her vocation and her voice as a poet and writer.e
-Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

eoeKarr could tell you whate(TM)s on her grocery list, and its humor would make you bust a gut, its unexpected insights would make you think and her pitch-perfect command of our American vernacular might even take your breath awaye. [Karr] holds the position of grande dame memoirista.e
-Samantha Dunn, Los Angeles Times

eoeIn a gravelly, ground-glass-under-your-heel voice that can take you from laughter to awe in a few sentences, Karr has written the best book about being a woman in America I have read in years.e
-Susan Cheever, New York Times Book Review

eoeAs irresistible as it is unflinchingly honest. . . . With grace, saltiness and profanity galore, Karr undeniably re-establishes herself as one of our finest memoirists and storytellers.e
-Melanie Gideon, San Francisco Chronicle

eoeDazzling. . . . Lit reminds us not only how compelling personal stories can be, but how, in the hands of a master, they can transmute into the highest art.e
-Rebecca Steinitz, Boston Globe

eoe[A] radiant, rueful, rip-roaring book. . . .Warm enough to burn a hole in your heart.e
-Ken Tucker, Entertainment Weekly

eoeScrappy, gut-wrenching. . . . Irresistible. . . . [Written] with trademark wit, precision, and unfailing courage.e
-Pam Houston, O Magazine

eoeThere isne(TM)t a single false note in Lit.e
-Carmela Ciuraru, Christian Science Monitor

eoeA redemptive, painfully funny story.e
-Bob Minzesheimer, USA Today

eoeKarr movingly depicts her halting journey into AA, making it clear her grit and spirit remain intact.e
-Michelle Green, People (3 out of 4 stars)

eoeLit matches its predecessors in candor and outstrips them in insight.e

eoeKarre(TM)s sharp and funny sensibility won me over to her previous two volumes, but what wins me over to Lit is the way her acute self-awareness conquers any hint that hers is the only version of this storye. Karr is as funny as ever.e
-Valery Sayers, Washington Post

eoeWith this third book Karr has managed to raise the bar higher still on the genre of memoir.e
-Steve Ross, Huffington Post

eoe[Karr] continues to delight with her signature dark humor and pitch-perfect metaphors delivering large doses of wit and painful insights. . . . There are plenty of memoirs about being drunk, but this one has Karre(TM)s voice-both sure-footed and breezy-behind it.e
-Beth Greenfield, Time Out New York

eoeMary Karr has never lacked for material. But shee(TM)s always delivered on the craft side, too, with her poete(TM)s gift for show-and-tell.e
-Elizabeth Foy Larsen, Minneapolis Star Tribune

eoeMary Karr restores memoir forme(TM)s dignity with Lit.e
-Vanity Fair

Product Details ISBN-10: 0061885479
ISBN-13: 9780061885471
Large Print
Published: HarperLuxe, 11/01/2009
Pages: 578
Language: English