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The Audacious Mendacity of Lily Green Kindle Edition
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Lily Green is 34 and a virgin, both in terms of sexuality and deception [circumstances that seem a little unrealistic for her age, but stick with it]. Lily tells her domineering mother that she is engaged to be married, and the story takes off as Lily’s combination of innocence and intuitive reasoning kicks in. Her unsympathetic mother departs on a holiday with ‘the girls’ and once she is gone, Lily wonders who Eva really is. “… Lily had a sense of her mother in masquerade – a series of costumes in which she’d played suburban wife, then grieving widow, and now crone in glad rags. Were the outfits like onion leaves with nothing inside, or as now seemed fleetingly possible, was there someone real beneath the camouflage.”
Just as Lily doesn’t know her mother, she also doesn’t know herself. She tears cuttings from women’s magazines – how to lose weight, how to cook lobster, how to seduce a man – as if she is casting around for behaviour which will give her a clue to her own identity. So she sets off from Hatch End… to London, a journey of 18 miles, hardly a grand adventure. But that’s the point; Lily could make this journey from the house she shares with her mother, but she lacks the self-confidence and ability to assert herself. She knows neither herself, nor her mother, and therefore flounders to find a place in the world. But as she invents a life and personality for herself, she meets other people who tell the truth and tell lies: how can she distinguish between them?
A funny novel which can be read on two levels: a quick poolside read for your holiday, or a social commentary which as you read it will make you review how much you tell the truth. And do you really know your own mother?
None of the three main characters rings true - they are all slightly grotesque caricatures for whom it's difficult to feel any empathy. All the minor characters are unpleasant too. The plot becomes tedious & ridiculous, the very ending predictable & irritating...
I read to the end because I was researching this author with a view to doing a creative writing class with her - but I've been completely put off.
I don't know what her intention was in writing this book, but in terms of style (not content) I feel it could have been written by a child.
I would like to give it no stars.