A Theory of Small Earthquakes

By Meredith Maran
(Soft Skull Press, Paperback, 9781593764302, 352pp.)

Publication Date: January 2012

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Description

“Any woman who has fought the odds to make a happy, healthy family will relate to Alison Rose, whose redemption is at stake in this inventive, addictive novel. A Theory Of Small Earthquakes teaches us something new about love and sex, jealousy and loyalty, and, most importantly, motherhood.”
-Ayelet Waldman, author of Bad Mother and Red Hook Road

In her ten previous nonfiction books, Meredith Maran has trained her journalistic eye on the subtle dance between the political and the personal. Now Maran brings her provocative gaze to her debut novel – a family story spanning two decades, set against the social, political, and geological upheavals of the Bay Area. Eager to escape her damaging past and chart her own future, Alison Rose is drawn to Zoe, a free-spirited artist who offers emotional stability and a love outside the norm. After many happy years together, the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake deepens fissures in the two women’s relationship, and Alison leaves Zoe for a new, “normal” life with a man. Alison’s son is the outcome of both of these complicated relationships, and the three parents strive to create a life together that will test the boundaries of love and family in changing times.




Praise For A Theory of Small Earthquakes

Praise for A Theory of Small Earthquakes

"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 bind—and sometimes strangle—and 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 if—as this blunt story proposes—it is shifting and sometimes stormy as the tides." —Joyce Maynard, author of The Good Daughters and At Home in the World

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