Anne Phyllis Tyler is a literary critic and Pulitzer Prize-winning American author who has published over 20 novels. ‘The Accidental Tourist’, ‘Breathing Lessons’ and ‘Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant’ are few of her famous novels. She is highly praised for her brilliant imagination and absolute accurate details, rigorous and artful style and astute open language. American family and marriage is the main theme of all her novels; describing the boredom of the partners, problems with children and siblings, desire of freedom from conflicted love and evolution of families through times. She is often compared to John Updike, Jane Austen and Eudora Welty.
1- Charles Baxter
He has been awarded “The Award in Literature” by American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1997. His novel ‘Saul and Patsy’ published back in 2003 is about a school teacher and his student who has put his identity and marriage in severe danger. Saul and Patsy met in college, fell in love and settled down as a married couple in the Midwest. The couple soon has a baby daughter but the unlovable boy Gordy Himmelman is determined to throw their lives into disarray by his inscrutable violent action.
2- Maile Meloy
Award-winning author Maile Meloy made a lasting impression with her first novel ‘Liars and Saints’. She describes sex and longing, love and loss and family relationships in a mesmerizing manner. The story of ‘Liars and Saints’ is set in California and it is the story of four generations of Catholic Santerre family since World War II till present. The family passes on jealousy and deceit from generation to generation. The courage and compassion bringing the family back together is the main theme concentrated by the writer. The way she describe things in the novel shows how extraordinary insight the writer is gifted with when it comes to American family.
3- Sue Miller
She spent more than a decade in fellowship and teaching positions before publishing her first novel. She was a single mother so she did not get enough time to write much but once she started publishing, two of her books are converted into films while others have been best-selling novels. Her book ‘The Good Mother’ is about a divorced character named Anna Dunlap having two passionate attachments. First is her four-year-old daughter Molly and second one is Leo, who made her feel beautiful and sexual but as soon as she started to realize that she has everything to be happy, the shock comes threatening her new love and her new family. Another amazing novel by Sue Miller is ‘The Distinguished Guest’ and it is about a mother and son; touching the deepest concerns related to love, family and life.
4- Elizabeth Berg
Elizabeth Berg is New York Times bestselling author for several of her novels like ‘We Are All Welcome Here’, ‘The Year of Pleasures’, ‘The Art of Mending’, ‘Say When’ and many others. She is the winner of 1997 New England Booksellers Award. In her novel ‘Say When’ she describes when is a marriage worth saving and when it is worth letting go. Perfect balance of humor and poignancy is maintained by the author while describing the nights and days of a family with a shattered normal life.
5- Laurie Colwin
She is the author of five novels and could have written many more but she died in 1992. Her novel ‘Family Happiness’ is about Polly who is a happy wife and a mother. She belongs to a remarkable and strong family. This ends when she finds herself in love with a painter named Lincoln Bennett. This is unexpected, sweet, painful and surprising for Polly and her image of everlasting and happy family is uprooted.
6- Judith Guest
She has had an amazing run because her first book ‘Ordinary People’ was published in 1976 and was made into a movie in 1980 winning the Academy Award for Best Picture. Plot of the story is amazing and it is about the life of Jarrets who lost their elder son ‘Buck’ recently. Their younger son ‘Conard’ is depressed and tries to commit suicide. He is committed to see a psychiatrist for treatment but meanwhile Conard’s mother and father are getting distant and cold. Although father and son close their gap but Beth decides to leave them at the climax of the novel.
7- Richard Russo
Richard Russo is a Pulitzer-Prize-Winning novelist and a Ph.D. from University of Arizona. Some of the famous books by Russo are ‘Empire Falls’, ‘Straight Man’, ‘Bridge of Sighs’ and ‘Nobody’s Fool’ but his novel ‘The Risk Pool’ is a thirty-year journey of Sam Hall’s life and his son. Sam Hall is a small-town gambling hell raiser and once his wife Jenny suffers a breakdown; Ned also becomes a part of his father’s nocturnal seedy world.