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Lying With the Dead
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Lying With the Dead

3.27 of 5 stars 3.27  ·  rating details  ·  77 ratings  ·  19 reviews
In this novel, Greek tragedy meets a dysfunctional family from Maryland, revealing how time and place matter little when it comes to the implacable logic of the darkest human emotions.
A family matriarch—half Medea, half Clytemnestra—calls home her three children, who take turns narrating the story. Quinn, the wonder boy who has become a successful actor in London, must fly
Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 6th 2009 by Other Press (first published January 1st 2009)
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This was a surprisingly good read...surprising because I just picked it up in a bookstore, knowing nothing about it (other than what it said on the blurb). It's elegantly written, with the narrative shifting between the perspective of three adult siblings, Quinn, Maury, & Candy. We learn early on, for instance, that Maury probably has Asperger's, though he has never been professionally diagnosed with the condition. Mewshaw's skill lies in his ability to convey with enormous feeling the inner ...more
Bonnie Brody
Lying with the Dead by Michael Mewshaw is a novel about a dysfunctional family but it is also much more than that. It is a Greek tragedy, a morality tale, a story about the conflicting and diametrically opposed emotions that grip us all, and a novel about sibling love. The novel unfolds in chapters told from the points of view of each of the children - - Quinn, Maury and Candy.

Quinn is the youngest child in the family, born as an afterthought or mistake. He has managed to escape his mother's ten
Cathe Olson
This novel was told from varying narrators--the three adult children of an abusive mother who are summoned home to Maryland to see her because she has something important to tell them. One son is a famous actor now living in London, the other son has Asperger's syndrome and has done time in prison for killing their father and is now living in a trailer park in CA. The daughter still lives nearby and takes care of the mother but wants to break away and have her own life finally.

I enjoyed this boo
Larry Hoffer
Family dysfunction is a tremendously popular subject for fiction, perhaps because it takes on so many different layers. The family in Michael Mewshaw's Lying with the Dead certainly had it tough. A physically and verbally abusive mother whose guilt grows as she grows older has summoned her three children home—Candy, the polio-stricken oldest child who has stayed in Maryland to care for her mother, sacrificing her desire for her own life; Maury, who struggles with Asperger's as well as the memori ...more
This is one of those books that my mother likes - messed up family coming together at the end. Except here they don't really "come together", they meet briefly and then separate and I suspect they'll never meet up again.

This read like a retread of some Oprah novel, all this family strife and angst and secrets with no one left undamaged. The Big Secrets weren't such secrets (read enough of these types and you'll see the reveal coming a mile away).

What bothered me most was that the oldest, Maury,
Apr 30, 2011 Galo rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: drama
To be able to tell a story from the perspective of three distinct voices is a remarkable feat. Although the plot is familiar and perhaps slightly predictable, Michael Mewshaw does an admirable and convincing job of making siblings Maury, Candy, and Quinn as real as any member of my own family. Mewshaw makes it unavoidable for the reader to sympathize and care for each character, to understand their motivations, understand how a family tragedy has profoundly shaped their troubled lives and scarre ...more
Kathy McC
Independent Booksellers Association recommended book.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. The characters are interesting and the plot is well developed. I loved the writing style. I would have given more stars, but was a little disappointed with the predictable ending.
"I'll go to the box in my head and crack open a drawer. Sometimes I visit myself as a kid. The memory drawers go back to when I was little. There's one drawer I stay away from, but there are others I break into, I'm so eager to climb
Alan Cheuse, National Public Radio's longtime "voice of books," has called him “the best novelist in America that nobody knows.”

I agree! Very well written novel that deals with a family member murdered by another family member. Written from the perspective of each of the three siblings, each one so very different, yet all tied together by one tragically dysfunctional mother. At times it reads like three books, but it all comes together well. I really enjoyed this book, probably will put this on
Adam Rust
This is a fine choice...if you can't find another piece of fiction about dysfunctional American family life.

The characters are just too flat. My favorite is Maury - his story is distinct enough to give his thoughts some interest. Quinn and Candy seem to be just expressions of a type.

The true test of this book is that I couldn't find time to read the last 30 pages. Its an easy read, but I kept finding myself compelled to pick up something else - like the Sun, or Bicycling Magazine, or my 401 (k
Kasa Cotugno
Employing elements of Greek tragedy and contemporary situations, this family drama hods interest so totally it is almost impossible to put down. Each of the fully grown children of the family matriarch is damaged in some way, thanks to their traumatic childhoods. Emotional and physical damage that follows them through their entire lives. Summoned to their mother's home they face their pasts and futures changed forever, High recommended.
Jul 25, 2011 Andrea added it
I liked all the characteres in this novel, separately, and found their back-stories very interesting. But when they all got together, my interest in the novel really dropped. I confess to being a little shocked by the ending--didn't see that coming.
I was sucked in by the promise of Greek tragedy. The family in question was indeed horrifying but a litle too predictable. The writing was quite good but was not strong enough to keep me involved.
Read it for a book club. Wasn't interested in any of the characters and couldn't care what happened to them. Wasn't surprised by anything, seems cliche and easy to figure out.
Three siblings who have survived hell more intact than would be expected. The story is told from each of their point of view in turn. Quick read of no lasting import IMHO
Very good story and I enjoyed it very much. The ending was telegraphed to me much too early though. Some people will be surprised. I enjoyed the read very much.
This books was chilling and realistic. A story of a dysfunctional family that comes back together to deal with their abusive mother.
I could see the ending coming a mile off, but this was a quick little read and I enjoyed it.
Heavy-handed with the Greek tragedy approach. Horrifying at times. All too real.
Cinda Atherton
Bizarre ending--not what I wanted--but I liked this book anyway. Weird!
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Michael Mewshaw is an American author of 11 novels and 8 books of nonfiction, and works frequently as a travel writer, investigative reporter, book reviewer, and tennis reporter. His novel Year of the Gun was made into a film of the same name by John Frankenheimer in 1991. He is married with two sons.

Alan Cheuse, National Public Radio's longtime "voice of books," has called him "the best novelist
More about Michael Mewshaw...
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