The Book of Lies Paperback – 3 Mar 2011
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"This is an unforgettable and brilliant debut. It establishes Mary Horlock as an original, compelling and powerful new voice in British fiction." (Hanif Kureishi)
"Irresistibly funny and poignant...confirms Mary Horlock as a rare talent." (Marie Darrieussecq)
"Mary Horlock's authorial debut is impressive. She layers the novel with different voices, deploying Catherine, who, while disclosing her own inner longings and intimate angsts, is the novel's agent of revelation." (Scotsman)
"The misplaced loyalties that often drive the adolescent mind are expertly depicted." (Hilary Claire O’Hagan The National)
"An assured debut...Horlock's irreverent style marks the arrival of a distinctive new voice." (Sunday Business Post)
"Horlock's use of dual first-person narration lends immediacy and apparent authenticity." (Sean O’Brien Times Literary Supplement)
"Cathy's teenage voice is a joy - funny, endearing and credible, it bursts with attitude. ... Horlock has created an authentic adolescent voice and, in the process, not only illuminated the history of a small island but also thrown light on the subjectivity of history, truth and memory." (Leyla Sanai Independent)
"The joy of this ingenious debut is that, somehow, it manages to link the twin stories convincingly to create an impressive fable about the relativity of truth and the deceits that make living on a small island possible. Highly recommended." (Adrian Turpin Financial Times)
"The Book of Lies is an assured debut, and Horlock's irreverent style marks the arrival of a distinctive new voice." (Sunday Business Post)
"[a] seething, startling work." (Catherine Taylor Guardian)
About the Author
Mary Horlock spent her childhood in Guernsey, moving to England at the age of eighteen. She read History and History of Art at Cambridge. Mary lives in London with her partner and their two children.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
A very rewarding read. Unputdownable.
The alternating Uncle Charlie wartime narrative worked for me too - this isn't Potato Pie Guernsey, this is cruel and raw.
This is a really clever and well written book exploring issues like truth and guilt in a dark, funny, and original way. And a word about the footnotes - they irritated me to death at the start, but provided a wonderful opportunity for witty asides that really grew on me as the book went on. Different and really enjoyable.
But Catherine's breathless rantings are intercut with another voice. Her (now long dead) Uncle Charlie recorded his own memories of the island from when he was a teenager. His story, punctuated by snippets of old Guernsey patois, is very different in tone, but then Charlie was a teenager when Guernsey was occupied by the Germans during the war. He's eager to tell you all the things the Guernsey Tourist Board don't ever want you to hear. He talks of mass graves and informers, and, most importantly, he talks about his closest friend, the friend that betrayed him to the Nazis and ruined his chances of escaping.
Now it gets complicated: Charlie is telling his story to his brother and Catherine's father, Emile Rozier, a man who devoted his life to exposing the truth about the German Occupation, and whose books and journals care crammed in every corner of the family home.
It's soon apparent that Catherine isn't just trying to explain what happened between her and Nicolette, she's trying to explain what happened to her family.Read more ›
The depiction of Guernsey is interesting, and Mary Horlock conjures up a great sense of place, but her characters lacked warmth for me, I had to check the back of the book half way through to remind myself whether this was teen fiction or not. (Nothing wrong with teen fiction, and I do occasionally read some). It's not, but Catherine's emotions are presented in such a limited way that I thought it might be aimed at that audience.
There are some funny moments, but for me the novel lacks the thrills of a good thriller, and its twists and turns never really hit home emotionally. This isn't a book that I'd return to, though it passed a couple of hours on a train journey!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
What is the truth and what is a lie? Is a fib a lie, is an omission a lie? And what would make you lie? To save yourself, to save a loved one? Is it okay to lie in war? Read morePublished 7 months ago by Sandradan1
I like this author. I will and have read the book - there is nothing more to say so go away.Published on 25 Mar. 2014 by Kindle Customer
Enjoyed the book and read it in a day and a bit. Characters well developed and both plots entirely believable. No real - deep - interweaving of the plots but they didn't need to. Read morePublished on 21 Mar. 2014 by Sydneysider
Of course it helps if you are familiar with Guernsey. I was raised there in the 50's and this is set much later, but the spirit of late childhood on the island together with... Read morePublished on 28 Feb. 2014 by sarnia
Great book, one of the best, most compelling openings ever and good characterisation. Have given it to two people for Christmas.Published on 29 Dec. 2013 by Mrs. A. Stopford
Unfortunately I didn't empathise with any of the characters. This was one of our Reading Circle books & we all struggled with it which was a shame.Published on 11 Dec. 2013 by LM
I have not read this book yet so cannot comment. I will leave a comment if and when I read it.Published on 29 Oct. 2013 by Susie Babes70
The Book of Lies is two linked stories of Guernsey, the first, told by a teenage girl(Catherine)in the mid 1980s, and the second, by her uncle Charles, recalling the deaths of... Read morePublished on 11 Oct. 2013 by John Brain