Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The top ten liars in fiction

Nick Lake’s latest teen/YA book is There Will Be Lies.

At the Guardian he tagged his ten favorite fictional tricksters and tellers of untruths in books, including:
Jack, in Home by Marilynne Robinson

Perhaps my favourite ever book, and one I press on anyone who is willing to listen. It’s silly to make these kind of pronouncements, but I’m going to do it anyway: Marilynne Robinson is the finest prose writer in the world right now. The story revolves around Glory, the adult daughter of a preacher in the American South, who returns to live at home, and partly it’s about her dealing with this apparent failure; with reconciling herself to life as a spinster in the house she grew up in. But it’s also about her brother Jack, the wayward prodigal son who also returns to the family home for a while, and a ‘lie’ he tells. That is, we know that Jack has a wife and son, and that he is reluctant for them to visit, but Glory only learns why at the end of the book. It’s a final revelation, a lever de rideau on the whole sublot, that not only shows what Jack has been hiding, but also reveals the true purpose of the book: appearing on the outside to be a domestic drama, it is really a furious and utterly heartbreaking look at perhaps America’s greatest injustice. It’s amazing (and revelatory) how many Amazon reviewers don’t get it at all.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Home is among Richard Zimler's five best books featuring pariahs and Diana Quick's six best books.

Also see: Dan Ariely's six top books about, or by, liars.

--Marshal Zeringue