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Return to Book Page. Lying With the Dead by Michael Mewshaw. Lying With the Dead 3. In this novel, Greek tragedy meets a dysfunctional family from Maryland, revealing how time and place matter little when it comes to the implacable logic of the darkest human emotions. A family matriarch—half Medea, half Clytemnestra—calls home her three children, who take turns narrating the story. Quinn, the wonder boy who has become a successful actor in London, must fly In this novel, Greek tragedy meets a dysfunctional family from Maryland, revealing how time and place matter little when it comes to the implacable logic of the darkest human emotions.
Quinn, the wonder boy who has become a successful actor in London, must fly in from England, putting a new love interest and a career-boosting role in a BBC production of the Oresteia on hold.
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Maury, whose life is defined by his Asperger's and a terrible crime committed when he was a teenager, rides in on a bus from his quiet, impoverished life out west. Candy, the eldest at fifty-five and the only one still a devout Catholic, is already in Maryland, where she takes care of her mother and dreams of retiring to North Carolina with her boyfriend. Once the family is reassembled in the childhood home, the pieces of a dark puzzle come together over brilliant and witty exchanges.
Mewshaw invites us into the heart of a family dynamic, exploding prejudices about love, religion, and murder. Paperback , pages. Published October 6th by Other Press first published January 1st To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Lying With the Dead , please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Mar 03, Bonnie Brody rated it it was amazing. Lying with the Dead by Michael Mewshaw is a novel about a dysfunctional family but it is also much more than that.
It is a Greek tragedy, a morality tale, a story about the conflicting and diametrically opposed emotions that grip us all, and a novel about sibling love. The novel unfolds in chapters told from the points of view of each of the children - - Quinn, Maury and Candy. Quinn is the youngest child in the family, born as an afterthought or mistake.
He has managed to escape his mother's ten Lying with the Dead by Michael Mewshaw is a novel about a dysfunctional family but it is also much more than that. He has managed to escape his mother's tendrils by moving from Maryland to London where he works as a successful actor. He is a good son in that he sends money every month to support his mother, and he calls home weekly.
He does like to dip into the booze more than is good for him, but then again, liquor can assuage pain and keep some of his demons at bay. Currently, he has been court-ordered to see a therapist due to anger issues.
Lying With the Dead Reader’s Guide
Maury has Asperger's Syndrome, a mild form of autism. He lives in California where he helps out in a trailer park. He has been released from prison after serving twelve years for his father's murder. As the family story goes, he saw his parents fighting again and he couldn't take it anymore. He picked up a knife and his father just walked into it. The knife pierced his belly and killed him.
Lying with the Dead – Texas Monthly
Maury keeps "track of my memories in the box in my head. This box in my head is big, with dozens of drawers. Candy is the parental child, the caretaker. She is a survivor of childhood polio and walks with a limp due to one shriveled leg. Forever, she has put everyone's needs ahead of her own and she is now the primary caretaker for their elderly mother.
Candy has a lover now and is waiting for her mother to die, or go into assisted living, so that she and Lawrence can retire in North Carolina. The children know that they must obey the family rules of shame, secrecy, and silence. The family is laden with secrets, and one after the other get divulged as the novel progresses. As secrets come out, Mom plays one child against the other, asking each child not to tell the other about what she's told them. What she says is often toxic and Candy states, "I don't want to hear. I clap my palms over my ears". Mom also has trouble with boundary issues.
One minute she may be discussing issues of mundane daily life, and the next minute she is telling her children about her sex life with their father. A piece of work, a she-devil, a monster, an evil and manipulative bitch, a cruel and heartless woman, a struggling single mother who is doing the best she can? All of these descriptions are true but none really get at the core of her ability to do harm to her children. At one point, Quinn reads an article from the "New York Times science section that examines the maternal instincts of animals.
For the way she alternately blessed and blasted me? She was just as likely to act fiercely loyal and defend their actions as she was to slap or beat them. Dad was an inveterate gambler who came home late or didn't come home at all. Mom's mercurial temper and unpredictability were the ruling emotions in the home.
In summer she's too hot. If it's spring or fall, she hates the change of season. As Quinn realizes, his mother is "clinically disturbed and dangerous. I didn't know how to deal with it back then. I don't know now. She means to die as she has lived - - strictly on her own terms. To hell with everybody else. She tells them that they need to come home to hear her deathbed wishes. This is her "final request". As the children convene in Maryland, the dynamics become heated and desperate. As Quinn so aptly quotes from the Oresteia, "I know the ancient crimes that live within this house.
In this sense, it is partly autobiographical. He is also interested in "murder and its ongoing effects on a family, the Greek tragic cycle of hubris, nemesis, and catharsis. Mewshaw brings his characters to life, with all their struggles and challenges, foibles and fears. His characterizations are so realistic that the reader feels like they are present in the room, like an eavesdropper right outside the door.
How each of the children deals with crimes of the heart, as they try to relate with their mother for what is possibly the last time, makes up the heart of this deep and wonderfully readable novel. Mewshaw has a great gift for describing that place between "kidding and almost crying". What at first sounds funny is often a statement of pain and cruelty. This is especially true of his descriptions of Mom, a Mom who "just keeps hacking away - - cutting you off at the ankles and the knees until you don't have a limb to stand on".
Without these limbs, her children still crawl if they have to, never giving up in their efforts to connect with their Mother and each other in some intimate way. What stands out, is the strength of the human spirt and the infinite ability to cope despite all obstacles.
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I got this book from the Amazon Vine program in It sat in my to-be-read pile for many months. After having devoured it in a day, I wish I'd opened it sooner so I could be reading more of talented novelist Michael Mewshaw's books. Daughter Candy is the oldest. She's stayed close to home, but longs to move to North Carolina with her boyfriend, a soon-to-be-retired dentist. Older son Maury is an itinerant ex-convict, living most recently in "Slab City", CA, who struggles with Asperger's syndrome.
The youngest, Quinn, is a successful actor and playwright living in England. Mewshaw tells the story of the final act that Mom has conceived for the family drama as she calls in Maury and Quinn from the road for face-to-face meetings. Despite the non-linear chronology of the narrative, Mewshaw keeps the story from becoming kaleidoscopic.
He also introduces potential complication by using three narrators - the three grown children. Still, their voices are clearly different and the technique works.
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I learned a bit along the way - particularly about Roman Catholic liturgy through Candy, and about Asperger's through Maury. Mewshaw's presentation of Maury is touching without being overly sentimental. Given various references to Greek tragedies in Quinn's section, you get the strong impression that the resolution won't be pretty. Like Mom at age eighty-something, it's not, but Mewshaw forces you to consider her motives and her sense of the bigger picture of the family.
Five stars for adult readers for a well-written, captivating family drama - one of the best novels I've read via the Amazon Vine program. Family dysfunction is a tremendously popular subject for fiction, perhaps because it takes on so many different layers. The family in Michael Mewshaw's Lying with the Dead certainly had it tough. A physically and verbally abusive mother whose guilt grows as she grows older has summoned her three children home--Candy, the polio-stricken oldest child who has stayed in Maryland to care for her mother, sacrificing her desire for her own life; Maury, who struggles with Asperger's as well as the memories of a crime he committed when he was a teenager; and Quinn, an actor who fled to London rather than deal with his family.
As you might imagine, a number of secrets are revealed in this book, old wounds are reopened, pain is inflicted and recovery seems imminent in some cases. And yet with all of that said, I didn't care all that much. I felt as if Quinn's character, perhaps because he was the most colorful, was the one Mewshaw developed the fullest, which left the other characters as sort of shadows in the background. But this left me wanting more, and not feeling particularly fulfilled by the story.
Everything unfolded as I expected it to, so while the characters were surprised by certain actions, I wasn't. And while they were moved by what was happening to them, I wasn't. I think Mewshaw writes well and had a great premise for a story. Sadly, it went the route of paint-by-numbers soap opera rather than a fully-fleshed out story. One person found this helpful 2 people found this helpful.
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Prince, whose real name was Prince Rogers Nelson, lies on his back with his head slumped over to the left. Wearing black jeans and a grey T-shirt underneath a black jacket, his right arm lies across his stomach as his left is on the ground to his side and bent at the elbow. He also has bandages on his wrists and ankles, covering up wounds possibly left behind by medical intervention. Prince's bottom half lies on the rug, which is believed to have lay inside the lift as decoration. He may have been found collapsed inside the lift and placed on the floor outside as people tried to help him.
Another picture, taken from further away, shows Prince's body lying with his feet towards the elevator doors. The horrifying images were released alongside a collection of material used by police in their investigation, which also included CCTV footage of Prince arriving at his doctor's office just 24 hours before he died. He looked gaunt and downcast as he walked along the corridor alongside his assistant Kirk Johnson and Dr Michael Todd Schulenberg.
The two-year investigation into Prince's death has finally come to an end, with no criminal charges being brought.
Speaking at a news conference in Minnesota on Thursday, Carver County Attorney Mark Metz announced there was no reliable evidence to show the pills given to Prince were prescribed by a doctor. Ahead of the news conference, a civil settlement with the doctor accused of prescribing painkillers to Prince a week before his death was agreed.
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