Files, Meg 1946-

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FILES, Meg 1946-

PERSONAL: Born 1946; married.

ADDRESSES: Office—Department of English, Pima Community College, 2202 West Anklam Rd., Tucson, AZ 85709-0001; fax: 520-572-0620. Agent—Victoria Sanders, P.O. Box 853394, Tuczon, AZ 85754. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER: Pima Community College, Tucson, AZ, began as director of Writing Lab, c. 1988, presently chair of Department of English. Ohio State University, Thurber House writer in residence.

WRITINGS:

Meridian 144 (novel), Soho Press (New York, NY), 1991.

Home Is the Hunter, and Other Stories, J. Daniel (Santa Barbara, CA), 1996.

Write from Life, Writer's Digest Books, 2002.

Contributor of short stories and articles to periodicals, including Crazyhorse and Oxford.

SIDELIGHTS: Meg Files's novel Meridian 144 blends an apocalyptic science-fiction scenario with one woman's forced journey of self-discovery. As the novel begins, Catherine "Kit" Manning is scuba-diving underneath the surface of the Pacific Ocean with her Air Force captain boyfriend when a nuclear strike occurs. She survives and makes it back to the island, breathing through her scuba equipment while she scavenges for food, finds her dog, and does battle with the more sociopathic elements who have also survived. She also contemplates her life in flashback: a difficult childhood, unresolved conflicts with her mother, and an unhappy marriage recently ended.

A Booklist reviewer noted that while a chronicle of protagonist Manning's misspent life is "crushingly sad, her current situation is nothing less than hellish." As Meridian 144 progresses, she eventually comes across like-minded survivors, who band together and resolve to re-create civilization. School Library Journal contributor Carolyn E. Gecan indicated that Manning's journey of "self-redemption" had put her in the position to take on an Eve-like role in a contemporary Genesis creation story and termed Files's debut "grisly and poetic in turn." Gecan noted that the novel "ends with a glimmer of realistic hope."

Files is also the author of a collection of short stories of loss and redemption in which these themes are connected to water and submersion. In "The Living Desert" a woman comes to terms with the drowning of her father years before. "The Mill Pond" chronicles the moments in which a couple cannot rescue both themselves and their children from their vehicle, which has just careened into a body of water. Perry Glasser noted in the North American Review that the author "writes with considerable skill and a touch of poetry in her prose."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, October 15, 1991, review of Meridian 144, p. 406.

Cosmopolitan, October, 1991, p. 48.

Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 1991, review of Meridian 144, p. 950.

North American Review, March-April, 1997, Peggy Glasser, review of Home Is the Hunter, and Other Stories, pp. 43-45.

Publishers Weekly, August 16, 1991, p. 47.

School Library Journal, April, 1992, Carolyn E. Gecan, review of Meridian 144, p. 163.

Writer's Digest, June, 1995, pp. 80-81.