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A Theory of Small Earthquakes Paperback – January 24, 2012
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"Maran explores the vagaries of love and the true nature of family in this debut novel." People
"Call it Two Women, One Man and a Baby. Maran’s take on the modern family
is at once unexpected and totally relatable." Ladies' Home Journal
"This tender, timely story reminds us we don’t need to read historical fiction to find novels about marriage; in fact, we need novels like A Theory of Small Earthquakes to help us understand the history same-sex marriage is making today.” The San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
"A family's world is irrevocably rocked when an old female lover from Mom's past reappears, in Meredith Maran's sexy, audacious, politically charged, and sure-to-be-talked about first novel, A Theory of Small Earthquakes. Ah, l'amour, l'amour." Vanity Fair
"Meredith Maran is a powerful storyteller with a big heart and a big talent." Terry McMillan, author of Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back
"This intriguing, timely yarn gracefully brings up a number of provocative topical issues, most importantly the changing dynamics of what it means to be a family. Maran’s novel effectively reminds us that this possible seismic social shift is really less a "hot topic" than a question of deeply human needs." The Boston Globe
"A fictional parenting triangle that challenges assumptions." Reader's Digest
"A love story that had me in tears at the end. Maran has written a thoughtful, moving, honest novel that is simultaneously personal and political." Kate Christensen, author of The Astral and The Great Man
"Meredith Maran’s dazzling debut is a provocative, funny, and deeply moving look at the ties that bindand sometimes strangleand the ways we struggle for the love we yearn for. I adored this novel." Caroline Leavitt, author of Pictures of You
"Funny, lively, political, personal, nostalgic, touching, A Theory of Small Earthquakes deftly chronicles love and its various meanings. I enjoyed it greatly." Meg Wolitzer, author of The Uncoupling and The Ten-Year Nap
"A smart, sexy, funny, wrenching, delicious story of lust and trust and love and family." Anne Lamott, author of Imperfect Birds and Bird by Bird
"Any woman who has ever struggled against the odds to keep her family running smoothly will identify with complex, authentic, paradoxical Alison Rose, whose redemption is at stake in this marvelous novel. A Theory Of Small Earthquakes teaches us something new about love and sex, jealousy and loyalty, and also, and perhaps most importantly, motherhood. Meredith Maran’s first novel is a powerful debut that left me waiting impatiently for her second." Ayelet Waldman, author of Red Hook Road and Bad Mother
"In this groundbreaking novel, Meredith Maran has told a story few writers, if any, have explored: of a woman drawn to two lovers and two distinct worlds, and of the unlikely family she creates, with two extraordinarily different partners, each of whom speaks to a different aspect of her desire. With rare honesty and courage, Maran asks us to consider whether sexuality can be defined by preference for one gender or the other, or ifas this blunt story proposesit is shifting and sometimes stormy as the tides." Joyce Maynard, author of The Good Daughters and At Home in the World
More About the Author
"A THEORY OF SMALL EARTHQUAKES by Meredith Maran: a fictional parenting triangle that challenges assumptions."--Reader's Digest, February 2012
"Meredith Maran's wonderful new novel, A THEORY OF SMALL EARTHQUAKES, is what Franzen's Freedom would be, if it were free."--Rebecca Walker
I could not put A THEORY OF SMALL EARTHQUAKES down. Even with my eyes practically crossing at 2am, I had to know what was going to happen! And I found the ending -- the ambiguity of it -- very satisfying, even though I wanted to know more. It was true to life, painful, beautifully done. Very strong, believable characters who I won't soon forget.--Dani Shapiro
Meredith Maran is a book critic whose reviews appear in People, Salon, the Boston Globe, and the San Francisco Chronicle, an award-winning journalist, and the author of several bestselling nonfiction books, including Class Dismissed and What It's Like To Live Now. The mother of two sons and grandmother of the cutest baby on earth, she lives in Oakland with her wife. A Theory of Small Earthquakes is her first novel.
To reach Meredith:
On Twitter: @meredithmaran
For more information:
Author photo ©Lisa Keating Photography
Top Customer Reviews
"What It's like to live Now." The first of many books by this epic writer over the years. Her new book, "A Theory of Small Earthquakes," defines a whole new generation. This fictional debut of author Meredith Maran will be an all night page turner for hard core fans. It is a love story that challenges the normal boundaries of gay and straight relationships. It will be enjoyed by all who read it. I loved reading about what life was like in the eighties . This is a new classic love story for generations to come. It really makes one contemplate what constitutes a family today. This particular story was well worth the wait and the end will leave you speechless.
And, yet, I loved this book. I loved the affectionate skewering of lesbian politics and the Berkeley lifestyle, I love watching GLBTQ history unfold through the span of the characters' lives, and I loved the insight into one woman's choices. It has me looking twice at people I know, wondering if they've done similar things. (I don't have to look far to find a few real world examples.) Did I love Alison? No. I'm not sure I understood the doormat ways of Zoe and Mark. But I loved being invited into their world. It was a real pleasure.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself beloved on the earth.
The Raymond Carver poem "Late Fragment" is a favorite of Alison Rose, the main character in Meredith Maran's spectacular novel, A Theory of Small Earthquakes. When Alison joins a "Feminist Transformations" seminar at Oberlin College in the mid-1980s, she finds herself immediately drawn to Zoe, a free-spirited artist who awakes in Alison the desire to be loved and protected, but also brings back memories and fears that stemmed from her fractious relationship with her mother. Alison and Zoe move to Berkeley after Alison's graduation, and they build a life together.
But when the Loma Prieta earthquake occurs in 1989, it exposes many of the cracks in their relationship, which magnified as they struggled to have a child. Alison settles into a more "normal" relationship with Mark, and they quickly have a son, Corey. Several months after Corey is born, Alison encounters Zoe again, and although she feels some initial betrayal, Zoe becomes a vital part of all of their lives, helping raise Corey and serving as a "goddessmother" counterpoint to Alison and Mark. But Alison is never completely comfortable in her life--she's never sure exactly what or who she wants, she's afraid that some of her secrets will be exposed, and most of all, she fears losing those she loves, even as her behavior often pushes them away.
A Theory of Small Earthquakes is a novel about love, family, parenthood, and being comfortable in your life, but it also is a tremendously fascinating reflection on the many different forms a family can take.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not a fan. Couldn't respect the main character. The wiring and description are good, though.Published 3 months ago by R. A. Marr
You never knew where the author was going to take you. The ending was a huge surprise. Totally unexpected. I highly recommend it.Published on January 6, 2013 by Kathy
It was readable, and I enjoyed the story, but it didn't feel plausible to me. In short, without ruining the ending, it's about a woman who wants to have it all - the woman she... Read morePublished on December 18, 2012 by Avid Reader
I enjoyed reading this book, and finished it in only two days, but I didn't think it was anything special, mostly because I didn't think the characters were believable. Read morePublished on December 7, 2012 by Natalie
A book that is easy to get into. Just a great read! The conflict in this story relates to current problems that couples today now are experiencing.Published on October 21, 2012 by wendi melideo
I read this book in one day and had trouble putting it down. The author does a great job of developing the characters; I found myself eager to see how the story would develop.Published on June 26, 2012 by GK