"Straddling a line between heartwarming and heartbreaking, this novel is Lamott at her most witty, observant and psychologically astute." - Publishers Weekly.
"Anne Lamott is a novelist of genius." - The Los Angeles Times.
In Imperfect Birds, international bestselling author Anne Lamott writes about things most of us learn to keep under wraps- loss of loved ones and loss of personal control.
We meet Rosie Ferguson at seventeen, enmeshed in a disintegrating life she is managing to keep well hidden from her parents. Her life as it appears is a sham. But cracks soon begin to appear and her deception has profound consequences on her mother Elizabeth- a recovering alcoholic- and stepfather James- a struggling writer, bent on building his career.
A former alcoholic herself, Lamott doesn't try to sugar-coat the sadness, frustration and disappointment her characters feel. With inspiring clarity and understanding she offers the reader an invitation into their honest and raw emotions.
Imperfect Birds is brilliantly written, inhabited by superbly realised characters: funny, human and wonderfully intriguing. Anne Lamott
is a columnist for Salon Magazine and a past recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. Her life was documented in Freida Lee Mock's 1999 documentary Bird by Bird with Annie: A Film Portrait of Writer Anne Lamott. She is the author of the New York Times best-sellers Grace (Eventually), Plan B, Traveling Mercies, and Operating Instruction. She has also written several novels. Rose and Crooked Little Heart will be released in Australia in 2011.
Author: Anne Lamott
Interview with Anne Lamott
This is the third time you've written about Elizabeth and Rosie, the fictional mother and daughter at the centre of your new novel. Why did you feel moved to return to them now?Anne Lamott
: These are my favourite characters, Rosie and Elizabeth, Rae, James. I wanted to check back in with them four years later in their lives and see how Rosie and Elizabeth were doing as they both neared the moment when she turns 18 years old and is ready to go out on her own. I wanted to see how Elizabeth and James were doing, both in their marriage and with the added strain of living with a teenager who is testing limits. I wanted to see if Elizabeth had been able to stay sober and how Rosie's new independence and challenging behaviour were impacting Elizabeth's best efforts at sobriety.
What would you say are the major themes of this novel?Anne Lamott
: To me, there are three major themes: First, this novel is about how incredibly hard it is to know and communicate the truth. The great Donald Barthelme said that truth is a hard apple to catch or to throw, and I wanted to explore how deeply into the frightening truth a newly sober Elizabeth was willing and able to go.
Second, I wanted to know whether Elizabeth's desire to get along with Rosie preclude that she keep the evolving truth from her belovered husband, James? Or could she find a way to be loyal to Rosie and the truth?
Third, is Rosie really willing to risk her life in pursuit of the thrilling lie? Is there a path toward independence that doesn't embrace self-destruction or the machete?
Elizabeth has her own problems with alcohol and depression. How does this affect her ability to deal with Rosie's drug abust, both negatively and positively?Anne Lamott
: Well, she knows what liars alcoholics are, because she is one- and she lied so routinely to James and Rosie. And she grew up with alcoholic parents, so she realises that her tendency is to not see what is right before her very eyes- that the people she loves are going down the tubes.
Do you, like James, borrow things that your family and friends say for your books?Anne Lamott
: Oh my, of course! Every writer is a parrot and a thief. I use everything great that everyone says. I am shameless and constantly paying attention, as are all of my favourite writers.Buy it now at