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The Lying Tongue Paperback – 31 May 2007


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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books (31 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841959413
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841959412
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.3 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,082,002 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'Reading The Lying Tongue is like walking across the shifting
floor of a funfair Haunted House. Andrew Wilson wrongfoots the reader every
chance he gets. It's gruesomely mesmerising.'
-- Val McDermid

`A mouldering Venetian palazzo, a decaying old man and an
unscrupulous young writer. Corruption, seduction and a notable lack of
guilt. A story as rank and rich as the city it is set in.' -- Sarah Dunant

Book Description

A death in Venice.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Maxine Clarke VINE VOICE on 18 Feb 2011
Format: Paperback
I thoroughly enjoyed this creepy psychological thriller. The story is classic: a young, recent graduate, Adam Woods, wants to be a novelist. He studied art history at university so he jumps at the chance to go to Venice to teach a teenage boy English, as he will be able to write his great work in the afternoons. Things rapidly go wrong, though, as the boy gets a maid pregnant and so he is bundled off to relatives in New York by his parents in order to avoid any repercussions, leaving Adam unemployed. Adam is at a loose end in Venice, but decides to stay - the author draws in the reader with descriptions of this beautiful city, its history and its art, as Adam wanders about wondering what to do. Eventually, he finds a similar job. A reclusive and famous English author, Gordon Crace, lives in Venice and needs a housekeeper-cum-secretary. Crace wrote one novel in 1967 which was a huge bestseller, but has produced nothing since. Adam is intrigued by the older man, and sets about making himself indispensable by cleaning up the long-neglected house and cooking simple but delicious meals, as well as pandering to Crace's neurotic needs. Again, the author describes this process of rehabilitation of the house with simple brilliance. It doesn't take long before Adam, whose own novel is not going well, realises that he is in a unique position to write a biography of the obsessively secretive Crace. He has access to all the older man's papers, and learns that there has been a scandal associated with the famous book - a young man who lived with Crace committed suicide soon after publication - or did he?
Adam pursues his detection of Crace's life with a compelling, if nauseating, mix of academic research and deviousness.
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By Sam Tyler on 10 Jan 2014
Format: Hardcover
When you first start reading `The Lying Tongue' by Andrew Wilson you may think it is ghastly. It focuses on Adam Woods a self-centered arty type lad in his early 20s whose sense of self-grandeur is almost off the scale. He is in Venice to write a novel and describes his surroundings with more ripeness than a nappy left out in the sun. However, stick with the book and you will not only delve deeper into the character of Adam, but into darkness itself. There is more to this affected youth than first meets the eye; he has the power to attract and to repulse.

`The Lying Tongue' is a rare book in that you need to read it all to understand what is happening. Wilson cunningly hides the true nature of the book, drip feeding the reader some elements of darkness as you progress. Once Adam arrives in Venice his initial job falls though and he ends up helping a reclusive author who won't leave his home. This seemingly innocuous man hides his own secrets and between the two of them an unpleasant relationship grows.

Adam is a repulsive character; he may start off annoying, but by the end he is abhorrent. This is not a criticism, but praise of Wilson's writing. He is able to create a character that is enigmatic enough for you to follow, even though you do not like them. `The Lying Tongue' is not a horror, but a suspense novel that pays off towards the end. The only real issue is that Wilson is almost too good at creating an obnoxious oaf that some readers will give up before they realise that is the point.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rich on 26 Aug 2009
Format: Paperback
Decent read. Compelling if not particularly sympathetic main protaganist. Interesting that the author who is a biographer himself, seems to be arguing against those who make their names through airing others dirty secrets.
It does the trick of keeping the reader turning the pages. The ending does cast some serious doubts over how much of what happened actually did, which for me adds to the entertainment value of the novel. I'd be interested to read the author's next novel, if only to see what other ideas he has.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Gail Thorburn on 7 Jun 2008
Format: Paperback
I was hooked immediately by this book - I was right there in Venice with Adam and his strange experiences getting to know the reclusive author.

I liked the gradual exposition of Adam's past and I expected some twists in the tale - and there were plenty of them that I didn't see coming and delighted me - but the ending left too many unanswered questions -
Still good enough to make me want to read anything else this author writes.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kiwifunlad on 28 Oct 2010
Format: Paperback
Adam, a young budding writer goes to Venice to write his first novel and is employed by an obsessive eccentric recluse, Crace. Crace lives in total seclusion in his Palazzo never leaving the property. The novel revolves around Adam trying to find out about Crace who 40 years earlier had written a very successful novel but had never written anything since.
The Lying Tongue is an appropriate title but I found that I was not drawn into the narrative due to the main protagonists' relationship which became increasingly improbable. The Venice setting was little more than a light travelogue and lacked atmosphere. The events became more and more far fetched and the end was a welcome relief. Overall, a light but unsatisfying read.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By wolf VINE VOICE on 4 July 2008
Format: Paperback
This first novel is an entertaining and engaging gothic thriller. Plausiblity and realism take something of a backseat to atmosphere and plot. Venice hasn't seemed so sinister since Don't Look Now. No one invloved, at least from the skewed perspective of its narrator, appears particularly normal - and many are grotesques. The central character perhaps owes something of a debt to Patricia Highsmith's sympathetic monster, Ripley. The result was more than enough to keep me turning the pages.

The only problem is the ending. Not only did its general nature seem guessable, but I was disappointed that it seemed so poorly executed - reduced to something fairly ludicrous for the sake of a twist in the tail.

Incidently, please note that the other review here really should have some sort of spoiler warning since it pretty well gives it away.
[appears to now have been edited to remove this]
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