The number of books in this post is easy to count – three.
The number of lies told… that’s a different story. What purpose do these lies serve?
Oddly enough, the one book that promises you close encounters with liars is the only one in which I believe you are supposed to focus on the so-called lies and not look beyond them.
I’m not completely sure as I could not bring myself to finish “THE LIAR’S DICTIONARY” by Eley Williams, even though I read more than half of it.
The book focuses on bogus definitions inserted into dictionaries to combat plagiarism, known as Mountweazels, There IS a plot, two socially awkward lexicographers in different time periods (one lying about having a speech impediment), one inserting invented words, another trying to discover them years later, and a bomb…
Basically, the book is supposed to be for people who delight in words. It’s supposed to be clever.
The question is how many soliloquies on words, their synonyms, their place in a sentence, and the aptness (or lack of it) for expressing the right meaning, can you stand on a single page?
I DO enjoy language and words, but I felt lost and bored. Too much cleverness for me, I’m afraid.
Perhaps it will work for you.
The opening sentence of “My Mother’s Son” by David Hirshberg, is:
“When you’re a kid, they don’t always tell you the truth.”
The book is presented as a memoir, so for most of the book, I thought I was encountering exactly the sort of “lies” one would expect from a “coming of age” story. The author takes us back to the world of his childhood, in 1950s Boston and introduces us to his family, their business partners, friends, and neighbors. All immigrants, most came over before the war, sharing a common “otherness” – Jewish, Italian, Polish, and Irish immigrants. As the young Hirshberg grows, he uncovers more and more truths about his family history, spanning three generations and his own identity.
I discovered this book accidentally and jumped to conclusion that it was a memoir, as portrayed. I was reading it as one. I knew that the major events depicted, such as JFK’s election campaigns, raising money for children affected by Polio at baseball games, neighbors going off to fight in the Korean War certainly happened.
But the book is a novel.
In fact, during the last section, the narrator “discusses” with the reader the question of how much of his tale is true, and what is the nature of truth in matters such as family history. Does it matter if events happened in one way or another?
It’s not the author’s fault that I spent time trying to look up the island he writes about…
While some passages are too long and repetitive, overall I enjoyed reading the book and found it interesting.
The major lie told in “Klara and the Sun” by Kazuo Ishiguro, is told to a daughter by her mother, not to a son.
And here the sun plays a role in the story, it is both life-giving and the one who lets you see reality clearly.
Klara, who is an Artificial Friend, tells the story.
I won’t tell you any more about it. When reading a book by Ishiguro It’s best not to know anything about the book in advance. Let the author drip in the information, uncover the secrets and expose the reality of the life he is depicting in his own unique way.
The writing is riveting, it’s a difficult book to put down.
As always, it’s a thought-provoking read. Sometimes it takes an AI to make you think about humanity, life, and love.