The Liars' Club: A Memoir (penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

Paperback | November 10, 2015

byMary KarrForeword byLena DunhamIllustratorBrian Rea

not yet rated|write a review
For its twentieth anniversary, a stunning Graphic Deluxe Edition of Mary Karr’s pathbreaking, award-winning, mega-bestselling memoir, with a new foreword by Lena Dunham

One of the 12 Best Book Covers of 2015, as chosen by the art director of The New York Times Book Review

When it was first published twenty years ago, The Liars’ Club took the world by storm and raised the art of the memoir to an entirely new level, bringing about a dramatic revival of the form. Karr’s comic childhood in an east Texas oil town brings us characters as darkly hilarious as any of J. D. Salinger’s—a hard-drinking daddy, a sister who can talk down the sheriff at age twelve, and an oft-married mother whose accumulated secrets threaten to destroy them all. Now in a stunning Penguin Classics Graphic Deluxe Edition with a new foreword by Lena Dunham—a creative game changer in her own right—this unsentimental and profoundly moving account of an apocalyptic childhood is as “funny, lively, and un-put-downable” (USA Today) today as it ever was.

For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Pricing and Purchase Info

$21.54 online
$24.00 list price (save 10%)
In stock online
Ships free on orders over $25
Prices may vary. why?
Please call ahead to confirm inventory.

From the Publisher

For its twentieth anniversary, a stunning Graphic Deluxe Edition of Mary Karr’s pathbreaking, award-winning, mega-bestselling memoir, with a new foreword by Lena DunhamOne of the 12 Best Book Covers of 2015, as chosen by the art director of The New York Times Book ReviewWhen it was first published twenty years ago, The Liars’ Club took...

Mary Karr kick-started a memoir revolution with The Liars’ Club, which was a New York Times bestseller for over a year, a best book of the year for The New York Times Book Review, The New Yorker, People, and Time, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the winner of prizes from PEN and the Texas Institute of Letters...

other books by Mary Karr

The Liars' Club: A Memoir
The Liars' Club: A Memoir

Paperback|May 31 2005

$17.07 online$19.00list price(save 10%)
The Art of Memoir
The Art of Memoir

Paperback|Sep 6 2016

$17.24 online$19.99list price(save 13%)
Lit: A Memoir
Lit: A Memoir

Paperback|Jun 29 2010

$17.26 online$18.50list price(save 6%)
see all books by Mary Karr
Format:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 8.3 × 5.7 × 0.9 inPublished:November 10, 2015Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0143107798

ISBN - 13:9780143107798

Look for similar items by category:


Extra Content

Bookclub Guide

US1. A major theme running through The Liars’ Club is the difference between Mary Karr’s parents. “With Mother,” Karr writes, “I always felt on the edge of something new, something never before seen or read about or bought, something that would change us. . . . With Daddy and his friends, I always knew what would happen and that left me feeling a sort of dreamy safety.” Karr’s mother is artistic and glamorous, while her father is down-to-earth. How do these contrasts lay the foundation for the Karr’s family life? Did you empathize with one parent more than the other? Did your feelings change as the book went on and more was revealed about them?2. Despite the horror that permeated Karr’s childhood, characteristics like humor, honesty, and courage pervade The Liars’ Club. Karr does not pass judgment on her family or tell us how she thought they should have behaved. Would you have liked to have known more about Karr’s feelings about the events that she recounts? In what instances? Or were you able to discern how she felt through her actions? What emotions did you experience while reading The Liars’ Club?3. Karr is a character in her own book, as well as its author. On the page, she’s a tough, scrappy kid who also has a tremendous sensitivity and devotion to the people around her. As readers, we understand the interior joys and terrors that make her such a rich and vivid character. How do you think she seemed to the people around her? If her mother was to make a list of her strongest characteristics, what would they be? If her father made such a list, would it differ in any way?4. Karr tells her story for the most part from the point of view of a child, and what a child sees and understands. How might the story—and Karr’s perceptions—change if she had told it from the point of view of an adult, with the benefit of everything she has come to understand about her upbringing and her family? What would be gained, and what would be lost?5. The author’s mother, Charlie Marie, never fully realized her dreams of becoming an artist. The author, who as child began to write poetry, was able to realize her creative ambitions. What gave Karr the strength to pursue that ambition? Was it “sheer cussedness,” one of the traits that characterized her as a child? Do you think the sadness of her mother’s unfulfilled dreams somehow propelled her? Do you think it had anything to do with her relationship with her father?6. After Karr’s grandmother dies she sings, “Ding dong the witch is dead.” Were you surprised that she was happy her grandmother passed away? What in the grandmother’s character was so oppressive? Do you think her grandmother contributed to her mother’s despair and alcoholism? How important a part did she play in Karr’s life?7. How would you characterize Karr’s relationship with her sister, Lecia? Does it change as the book progresses?8. In an interview Karr said that she had previously tried to write a novel based on her childhood experiences: “When I tried to write about my life in a novel, I discovered that I behaved better in fiction than I did in real life. The truth is that I found it easier to lie in a novel, and what I wanted most of all was to tell the truth.” What do you think of this statement? Karr’s father was famous for the tales he told during meetings of the Liars’ Club. At any point did you feel that the author was perhaps altering or stretching the truth?9. In the introduction to this guide, Karr states that while on tour to promote The Liars’ Club people from all walks of life told her they identified with her story. Do you identify with the Karr family? Did this influence you while you were reading the book? Is it “the essential American story,” as one reviewer stated?

Editorial Reviews

“For a certain group of twenty-something women, consumption of, and passion for, The Liars’ Club is both a rite of passage and a mode of self-identification. . . . I am lucky I was eight when this book was published. I am lucky I grew up in a world where it colored people’s reactions to personal stories, female stories. We all are. Because The Liars’ Club is more than an account of a tattered childhood and one brave and brilliant woman’s attempt to use it rather than deny it. It is an aggressive tap on the shoulder in a crowded room, a smiling funny face asking its readers: ‘Wanna be friends?’ ” —Lena Dunham, from the Foreword“The essential American story . . . A great pleasure to read.” —The Washington Post Book World “Astonishing . . . one of the most dazzling and moving memoirs to come along in years . . . [Karr’s] most powerful tool is her language, which she wields with the virtuosity of both a lyric poet and an earthy, down-home Texan. It’s a wonderfully unsentimental vision.” —The New York Times“This is what the memoir is supposed to be.” —Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly “This book is so good I thought about sending it out for a backup opinion. . . . It’s like finding Beethoven in Hoboken. To have a poet’s precision of language and a poet’s insight into people applied to one of the roughest, toughest, ugliest places in America is an astonishing event.” —Molly Ivins, The Nation“Overflows with sparkling wit and humor . . . Truth beats powerfully at the heart of this dazzling memoir.” —San Francisco Chronicle“Karr lovingly retells [her parents’] best lies and drunken extravagances with an ear for bar-stool phraseology and a winking eye for image. The revelations continue to the final page, with a misleading carelessness as seductive as any world-class liar’s.” —The New Yorker“Karr has drawn black gold from the [Texan] mud.” —Texas Monthly“Karr’s God-awful childhood has a calamitous appeal. The choice in the book is between howling misery and howling laughter, and the reader veers toward laughter. Karr has survived to write a drop-dead reply to the question, ‘Ma, what was it like when you were a little girl?’ ” —Time“Mary Karr is a phoenix. That she arose from any fire to create poetry says as much about poetry as it does about Mary Karr.” —Mary-Louise Parker on her favorite memoir, The Liars’ Club, in Ladies’ Home Journal