Publisher: Akashic Books
Release Date: July 7, 2015
Review by: Kristie M. Hendricks
Coping with abuses via French notes-to-self, Merryn Huntley has resisted change through a long marriage to Beau Huntley, a wealthy Wall Street playboy in Kaylie Jones’ The Anger Meridian. Jolted into action by his death and the revelation of a major investigation by U.S. authorities, Merryn flees to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico to seek help from her mother, Vivienne. It does not take long for Merryn to realize the doormat she was to her husband, was woven by her mother. The novel would quickly end without Merryn’s single purpose: her struggle to be a solid mother for her ultra perceptive and intelligent daughter, Tenney.
Jones’ use of a first person narrative in The Anger Meridian is a successful tool to further illustrate Merryn’s panicked and anxiety-fueled mind. Without this smart artistic approach, Merryn Huntley’s extreme wealth would keep us distant. Jones shines the spotlight in Merryn’s face and we squint too.
Justice in this novel is a prize granted to the best actor. Jones masterly shows us a fluid world. It is not so much that Merryn has to overcome her anxiety as she must accept the wave beneath her and have faith in the strength of her legs. This is a world where joy is okay and death is laughable–like the Mexicans show her through sculpture and art. Merryn draws strength from unexpected sources and the tension yields the question: will it be enough?
Thrilling and mysterious, the novel leans forward and creates its own inertia. Jones doesn’t let Merryn pack life light; Mrs. Huntley is loaded with weights and challenges. The heroic ball is rolling fast and we feel the intense panic, all Merryn has to lose, if she doesn’t keep it together. We are on the ball with her as she dances around the anger meridian, hoping she will get beyond all that is against her, somehow, unscathed.