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4.1 out of 5 stars54
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 2 April 2013
Once the story gets going and the viewpoint character travels to India, it is fascinating and brings these remote areas to life. 'The Truth' gets across an important message about the complexities of environmental campaigns - nothing is quite as straightforward as it seems. You may be put off at first by the plethora of pluperfects in the first few chapters, where Michael Palin keeps telling us the hero's backstory - using "he had been" instead of finding a way of taking us straight into thecharacter's head. Do stick with the book because it will take you on an inspiring journey to places you have never even heard of but are well worth a visit, but I do think Michael's editor should have told him that the action needed to start as soon as possible.
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The thing that I've found when reading fiction written by very famous people, is that I tend to see the author when I'm reading, rather than the characters. So, for me, Keith Mabbut looks like Michael Palin, although really I doubt that they have too much in common.

Keith is a man who regrets a lot, he is gazing back at this life and wondering just where to go next. Having just completed a book about an oil company in the Shetlands, he is determined that at last he will write his long-planned fiction novel. His agent has other ideas and despite (little) protest he finds himself off to India to track down Hamish Melville.

Michael Palin has been able to draw on his experience in the world of television presenting and travel writing to create a realistic sounding if not very pretty backdrop for this novel.

A gentle, fairly slow at times and dry-witted story that moves slightly into the 'thriller' territory in the second half. Michael Palin writes well with great insight into the environmental nature of the plot.
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on 13 August 2012
'How appropriate that Michael Palin should choose the subject of a writer for his new novel. Michael seems to be in total command of any genre of writing that he chooses, from comedy scripts to TV plays, from diaries to films. Now he has created a story that is as compelling as it is topical. The plot combines an engaging kaleidoscope of ambition, cunning, deceit, light and darkness. Michael handles all the twists and turns with the skill of a master novelist, with The Truth, for once, being the winner.'
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on 6 July 2013
I thoroughly enjoyed this. It's beautifully written, and I found all the characters interesting, both the appealing and the unappealing. All of them seemed very real and well-rounded, and all of them illustrated the point that no truth is absolute, to perfection. Mr Palin is very skilful at creating one impression of a character for his readers and then gradually altering the direction in which the spotlight falls and revealing another side to them.

I've read comments that there's too much 'environmental preaching' in the book. I didn't think so. I think the issue of environmental activism was dealt with very fairly, and it's clearly one the author knows something about.

Lastly, the descriptions of India were absolutely wonderful; I could taste the dust in the air. A really enjoyable read. I hope Michael Palin will find the time to write fiction more often!
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on 14 August 2012
The Truth is a clever, thoughtful novel and not at all what I had expected. Somehow I expected a comedy of manners. In fact the novel is a thought provoking study of family, love and the nature of truth combined with a helping of environmental concern. You can imagine Michael as Keith Mabbut - an old fashioned journalist now a writer for hire who aspires to be an award winning novelist - he's the explorer, the pioneer, supporter of the underdog and man of the people. This story is at once quintessentially British and truly international. A very satisfying read and a story that I keep thinking about.
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on 18 August 2013
This is a book about dignity and compromise. The sufferings of the hapless central character are quite Pyhonesque to begin with but this is gradually shed as the story reveals the grounding of self-identity. The book is broken up into three distinct acts. In the latter two, one gets the impression that Palin is writing about all the gritty stuff that he could never quite get into his travelogues. It feels as if he has really experienced some of the environmental stuff and that makes it all the more concerning to read about. The satirical style is reminiscent of Evelyn Waugh. The book is ultimately hopeful and genuinely heartwarming.
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on 14 February 2014
If you wouldn't normally pick up a novel from a "celebrity" author then in this case I'd advise you to think again. This really was a delight. I bought it in a hurry solely on the basis that a) I needed something to read, b) the reviews on the cover were very positive, and c) Michael Palin's a good bloke, isn't he?

So it was a very pleasant surprise that this book was both well-written and so enjoyable. It's light and easy reading, for sure, but it's very vividly written, laugh-out loud funny in several places, and - pleasingly - it actually has something serious and refreshing to say. The characters are solid and believable, the plot full of gentle twists and surprises. And while the author's travels have clearly informed the landscape, characters (and message) that inhabit the book, I found the simple accounts of "normal" London life to be just as poignant and well-observed.

The plot is outlined in other reviews, but let's call it a novel about the environment and integrity in a changing world. A highly enjoyable book. And that's The Truth.
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Not at all what I was expecting when I started reading - or in a book from Michael Palin. I'm not sure what I was expecting; something closer to his travel books, something more overtly comic, or earnest, I suppose (it is a book, in part, about a renowned environmentalist). What I found was a beautifully understated mystery about a well-meaning, investigative journo who has sold out, mainly, it seems, to finance the demands of a failing marriage. Failing marriage aside, it feels like there's a lot of Michael Palin in the painfully introspective, inherently decent and well-meaning Keith Mabbut; a man so very familiar, so very full of middle-class angst, so apparently predictable, that his actions never failed to surprise me - but always quietly: there's no drama here, just a series of wonderfully unexpected twists that I never guessed were coming. In short, The Truth is a delight that I recommend to anyone who enjoys a rollicking good yarn that is always believable, but yet constantly surprises.
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on 27 August 2013
A very readable book written by someone who clearly is familiar with overseas travel and environmental issues. The book can be read on several levels: just for the story alone (which is full of surprises) as well on deeper philosophical level about the meaning of truth and its interpretation. Would make a good film, I feel. Definitely recommended.
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on 4 February 2013
This is a departure from the normal books written by Michael. A most entertaining and addictive read. His work is highly recommended
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