“A literary meteor shower....One great read.”
A classic from New York Times bestselling author Anne Rivers Siddons, Fault Lines is the powerful and deeply moving story of three women on a life-changing road trip up the California coast. Pat Conroy (The Prince of Tides) says that Siddons, “ranks among the best of us and delivers the goods—the whole fabulous package—with every book she writes.” Fault Lines is one of her finest, a truly stunning read from a novelist acclaimed for her wondrous array of literary masterworks—from Sweetwater Creek to Up Island through Low Country and Nora Nora.
Her 11th novel (after Downtown) finds Siddons squarely back on track with an immensely readable narrative that's been trimmed of excesses and--except for the ending--unnecessary melodrama. In fact, even the symbolism here is lean and explicit: Merritt Fowler is at the end of her emotional tether and about to crack; then the earth does, in an earthquake that imperils her and three people she loves. The fault lines in Merritt's character are common to women, Siddons implies. Since her mother's death when she was 13, Merritt has been a willing caretaker for members of her family: first her younger sister, ``fragile, lovely, hungry'' Laura, now 38 and still a would-be actress; then her husband Pom, a doctor dedicated to the patients in his Atlanta clinics but demanding and dictatorial at home; then Pom's Alzheimer's-demented mother, Mommee. Merritt knows she's shortchanging her 16-year-old daughter, Glynn, who has survived one bout with anorexia but is again close to despair because she feels neglected by her father. When Glynn runs away to her aunt Laura in California, Merritt follows to bring her home but is caught up in circumstances that will forever change the lives of all three women. If Siddons initially makes Merritt a bit too perfect, selfless and saintly, she nicely traces the flowering of her heroine's self-image during several crises and a bittersweet love affair. Settings are authentically rendered, from Atlanta's upper-crust social milieu to Hollywood's tawdry glitz and the serene beauty of the redwood country near Santa Cruz. Neatly alternating earthquake lore with steamy sex scenes, Siddons manages her absorbing, if predictable, narrative with panache--and though the earthquake is employed as a tear-jerking deus ex machina, readers will probably take the device as fair exchange for the various epiphanies and rites of passage that Glynn, Laura and Merritt experience. $250,000 ad/promo; first serial to Good Housekeeping; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club main selections; author tour.
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These characters are so real that I hated to leave them at story's end. They have become part of me. Once again ARS has charmed and thrilled me with herbwise and tender foraysvinto the heart of womankind. She writes with love and deep understanding. Since movingvto the South and reading my first Siddon's book I have devoured all I could find.
Fault Lines will rank high among my favorites!
Dian S. Barnett