3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Affirmative, touching, and very, very funny., 28 Mar. 2014
Luke Brown’s narrator, Liam, is such an engaging, charming and delightfully flawed character that you can’t help wanting to see yourself in him. Anyone with a romantic disposition, a love of literature, and a tendency to make questionable decisions will take an awful lot from this novel. And frankly, if you’ve none of these qualities, then you’re probably not reading novels at all.
The plot is relatively straightforward: a heartbroken and disgraced editor repairs to Buenos Aires to heal wounds and have adventures, with a Marías/Murakami type literary mystery thrown in. So many first person, coming-of-age novels about clever, sensitive, but reckless young men feel contrived and arch: ‘My Biggest Lie’ is neither. It is defined by a joyful sweetness and innocence, and this is largely due to the trick Brown pulls off in creating a character both authentic and illuminating. We want to know what Liam is thinking and while we recognise his foolishness, we root for him. The clever thing about the novel is that we’re not really sure what exactly it is we are rooting for him to do.
Place is key to this novel. It captures perfectly the bewildering and exciting experience of living abroad, which is something of a symbol of falling in love, being rejected, and then dealing with the uncertainty and dislocation, once again, of having to face life on your own: the foreignness of separation. ‘My Biggest Lie’ combines the effortless humour of Geoff Dyer, the best bits of Martin Amis’ ‘The Rachel Papers’ and ‘The Pregnant Widow’, with the insight and tenderness of Anne Enright.
Reading ‘My Biggest Lie’ is such an enjoyable and affirmative experience it seems churlish to focus on anything else.