“A dysfunctional family is any family with more than one person in it.”

karr croppedIn the tenth anniversary edition of  the memoir The Liar’s Club, Mary Karr writes, “Just as the novel form once took up experiences of urban industrialized society that weren’t being addressed in sermons or epistles or epic poems, so memoir — with its single, intensely personal voice — wrestles with family issues in a way readers of late find compelling.”  Yes, the “intensely personal voice ” must be appealing, but for me, what makes a good memoir great is the level of the author’s insights.  Isn’t remarkable self-awareness what Montaigne, Karl Ove Knausgarrd, and Mary Karr have in common?

Mary Karr, The Liar’s Club: A Memoir (New York: Viking Penguin, a division of Penguin Books, 1995), p. XIV.

 



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