Title: The Truth in my Lies
Author: R.P. Lenney
“The biggest thing that manages to confuse me is the way that people soon become obsessed with things that are of no importance to us at all. Devoting their entire lives to something irresponsible or irrelevant to their usual day. Obsession blinds people though, it is why some are deluded enough to become obsessed when others don’t even know what it is they are obsessed over.”
The Truth in my Lies is a novella which very heavily leans on the idea of an unreliable narrative; the ambiguous protagonist is never clearly described throughout the book, and as the narrative is told from his perspective, it blurs the line between fantasy and reality throughout. The whole thing is really a jumbled stream-of-consciousness from the perspective of the protagonist while he is talking to his doctor, and describing his best-friend, Grace, who was murdered. While learning about her murder, the reader also learns a lot about the thought-process of the protagonist, and in turn, how he is desperately searching for meaning in his life.
I really enjoyed the paragraphs in which the protagonist tried to understand why we give things simple names when we have already got a scientific, and therefore more accurate, one, but choose to dumb it down for the masses. This was definitely one of the moments in the book where I think it cleverly touched on the woes of the human condition, and the never-ending questions and conundrums we can think of about the human race.
The parts which included the ice-cream man and Grace did make my skin crawl a little, and as someone who does not enjoy horror, or anything similar, I can’t say I enjoyed those passages. I do like macabre though, and I agree with the author that we all have a slight fascination for anything morbid or grotesque, but perhaps something a little less visceral would have been preferable for me.
If I’m honest, overall, everything was a little confusing. I kind of feel as if that’s what the author intended, but, probably because I read a lot, I’m used to a little more of a traditional structure from my books. Although it was confusing, I do think that the seeming randomness of it added to the apparent unhinged nature of the protagonist which made the whole thing feel eerier.
Purely from a structural perspective, I thought that the chapters could have been broken up more with page breaks or something to separate them. As they were so close together, I assume the author wanted them to flow into each other, but as there didn’t seem to be much of a difference in topic between a new paragraph and a new chapter, it would have made just as much sense to not have chapters at all and have the entire narrative written as one long piece. In fact, that would have added to the emphasis on the stream-of-consciousness style writing, and probably aided the overall effect.
I liked how the author was trying to tackle important topics with the book, and I think to a certain extent he succeeded. I think, for me personally, when a narrative is going to be this confusing and unpredictable, I would have liked a little more structure to help me move from one section to the next. However, overall, it was a well-written and original novella, which I think does a good job at breaking the mould, and making you think.