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Liars: A Novel by Sarah Manguso
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Liars: A Novel (edition 2024)

by Sarah Manguso (Author)

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"A nuclear family can destroy a woman artist. I'd always known that. But I'd never suspected how easily I'd fall into one anyway. When Jane, an aspiring writer, meets filmmaker John Bridges, they both want the same things: to be in love, to live a successful creative life, and to be happy. When they marry, Jane believes she has found everything she was looking for, including--a few years later--all the attendant joy and labor of motherhood. But it's not long until Jane finds herself subsumed by John's ambitions, whims, and ego; in short, she becomes a wife. As Jane's career flourishes, their marriage starts to falter. Throughout five house moves, two failed businesses, and a steady draining of the family finances, Jane tries to hold it all together. That is until John leaves her."--… (more)
Member:ocassim
Title:Liars: A Novel
Authors:Sarah Manguso (Author)
Info:Hogarth (2024), 272 pages
Collections:Your library, To read
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Liars by Sarah Manguso

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Liars by Sarah Manguso is a very highly recommended scathing portrait of a marriage. Due to the brutally honesty revelations of the relationship Liars is not an easy novel to read and for some readers it will bring up painful memories or experiences.

Jane, a writer, meets John Bridge, a filmmaker, and the two fall in love, marry, and plan to continue to both have fulfilling, creative lives. When their child is born, Jane is thrilled, but is also thrust into the role of main caretaker, and cleaner, while John is often absent, doing what he wants. She is now a wife and mother whose life is overtaken by John’s ambitions, whims, and ego. Jane says, "I was in charge of everything and in control of nothing." John frequently moves them all across the country as he pursues new jobs, another form of control, while never admitting to any mistakes.

Jane tries to keep her writing and marriage going throughout all the upheavals. Her health suffers, both physical and mental. She says something that many women face, "My time, which is to say the time that was mine, for me alone, had disappeared. And at once I understood why I hadn't felt like myself in years. My own time - my own life - had disappeared, been overtaken." The novel follows their 14 year relationship. Readers know John will be divorcing her. It is clear from the start. Jane is the narrator of the story and includes within her account, her personal writing about the issues in her marriage and how marriage can make liars of us.

Honestly, this is an impeccably written but an emotionally draining novel to read, especially if you have experienced some of the same things Jane did. I appreciate Manguso naming her main characters John and Jane, common names, and having the child simply be the child. Many readers will be projecting themselves and their personal experiences into the lives of the characters. I saved many quotes from Liars, including this true fact: "He said that the clearest indication of cheating was contempt on the part of the cheating spouse."

Liars is presented as fiction, but while reading it does not feel like fiction. It feels like a realistic, raw memoir about a failing marriage. Thanks to Random House/Hogarth for providing me with an advance reader's copy via NetGalley. My review is voluntary and expresses my honest opinion.
http://www.shetreadssoftly.com/2024/07/liars.html ( )
  SheTreadsSoftly | Jul 20, 2024 |
Manguso’s slim volume of precise prose reads like autofiction as she dispassionately describes the end of her fifteen-year marriage to John who’s cheating. “When you’re a liar, you always know something that other people don’t know. Maybe lying to me made John feel extra smart.”
But no one gets off the hook as the narrator admits: “I remember how desperately I had to cling to the story of my happy marriage. It took effort. It felt so good to stop lying,” hence the title. Her reactions are visceral and compounded by the questions her young son asks.
I welcome another Manguso.

My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC. ( )
  featherbooks | May 7, 2024 |
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"A nuclear family can destroy a woman artist. I'd always known that. But I'd never suspected how easily I'd fall into one anyway. When Jane, an aspiring writer, meets filmmaker John Bridges, they both want the same things: to be in love, to live a successful creative life, and to be happy. When they marry, Jane believes she has found everything she was looking for, including--a few years later--all the attendant joy and labor of motherhood. But it's not long until Jane finds herself subsumed by John's ambitions, whims, and ego; in short, she becomes a wife. As Jane's career flourishes, their marriage starts to falter. Throughout five house moves, two failed businesses, and a steady draining of the family finances, Jane tries to hold it all together. That is until John leaves her."--

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