Friday, October 19, 2007

Pg. 99: Maud Casey's "Genealogy"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: Maud Casey's Genealogy.

About the book, from the publisher:
Meet the Hennarts: Samantha Hennart, a poet with writer's block; her husband, Bernard, obsessed with the life of a nineteenth-century Belgian mystic with stigmata; their son, Ryan, a mediocre rock musician; and their eighteen-year-old daughter, Marguerite, who is quietly losing her mind. A meditation on family, faith, and mental illness, Genealogy is an operatic story of one family's unraveling and ultimate redemption.
Among the praise for Genealogy:
"Casey's most sophisticated work yet. We are here and then suddenly we are there,... Casey's hand is steady, and there's never any doubt that she's in control.... [Genealogy] is ambitious and deserves no small amount of praise.... And Casey's refusal to spoon-feed a narrative to her readers reveals a courage that's all too rare in these linear, literal times."
--New York Times Book Review

"Casey writes with compassion and wisdom.... Her writing can be superb: The scene where Bernard finds himself wearing a waitress's bloomers perfectly captures his sense of hopelessness and absurdity."
--Washington Post Book World

"Genealogy is ravishing in every sense of that word: brilliantly observed, gorgeously written, stunningly structured and, finally, unforgettable. Casey writes the way Elizabeth Bowen might if she lived here, and now."
--Andrea Barrett, National Book Award winning author of Ship Fever

"Maud Casey writes so evocatively about family love, loss, and madness that she can break your heart. Yet her sense of humor and whimsy, and her astute eye for the most telling details of ordinary life, are a constant source of hope. This is a lovely novel."
--Julia Glass, National Book Award winning author of The Three Junes

"Chief among the many pleasures of Genealogy is Casey's compassionate, joyful, lyrical voice: she guides us with kindness, gusto, and humor through a generation-spanning, redemptive story about that blessed/cursed, tragicomic animal, the American family."
--George Saunders, author of Pastoralia and CivilWarLand in Bad Decline

"Genealogy is a brilliant, searing exploration of family legacies and mental illness. Maud Casey writes with poignant lucidity and radiance, and this remarkably original novel is full of compassionate vision and clear-eyed grace."
--Rene Steinke, author of the National Book Award finalist Holy Skirts

"Maud Casey is a bold writer who moves easily among the different voices in Genealogy, proving that it's possible to be protean and authentic at the same time. This novel about the bonds and intricacies of family life is as haunting as it is compelling."
--Meg Wolitzer, author of The Position
Learn more about Genealogy at Maud Casey's website.

Casey lives in Washington, D.C. and teaches in the MFA program at the University of Maryland. She is the author of two novels, The Shape of Things to Come and Genealogy, and a short story collection, Drastic. Her stories have appeared in Beloit Fiction Journal, Confrontation, The Gettysburg Review, The Georgia Review, Prairie Schooner, Shenandoah, Sonora Review, and The Threepenny Review.

The Page 99 Test: Genealogy.

--Marshal Zeringue