Friday, June 26, 2009

The Liar

I need to get to bed as it's late and I have work to do tomorrow (more on this later). I just wanted to get a quick note down about my immediate impressions having just finished The Liar by Stephen Fry.

I've taken multiple literature classes and had discussions about unreliable narrators. The book is called The Liar, and it is (not surprisingly) about a chronic Liar. Still, finding out towards the end that you've been lied to is a surprise and a bit of a knife twist in the gut. Because it was all so engaging, so good, you want it all to have been true. And of course if some of it is a lie, then all of it might be a lie, and that would be so depressing. It would make our interesting, witty hero into someone boring. I would rather have the lie.

I haven't finished a book and felt the desire to immediately go back and reread it for a long time. But with this novel I feel like I need to go back at once and scrutinize because there are multiple unreliable narrators in this story and I want to rifle through the layers and see if I can determine what is credible and what is not. How much of this story was a lie?

Of course it's fiction. So all of it was a lie. Having read Stephen Fry's autobiography Moab is My Washpot, I know that bits of it are taken from his life, but not much of it. The international espionage was not autobiographical.

I just don't know. I am baffled. I'm not even sure if I find the ending satisfactory or not. I can't tell if it was really clever, or just confusingly muddled. It's a first novel, so perhaps it's a little of both. It was good though. I do know that I like it.

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