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A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself Reviews

A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself by Peter Ho Davies

A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself

Peter Ho Davies

4.00 out of 5

5 reviews

Imprint: Sceptre
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication date: 7 Jan 2021
ISBN: 9780340980279

A heartbreaking, soul-baring novel about the repercussions of choice from the award-winning author of The Welsh Girl and The Fortunes.

4 stars out of 5
6 Apr 2021

"A tender, unflinching account of the travails of fatherhood"

As the narrator tells his students, one of the gifts of fiction is the cover it provides. “A story can be 1% true and 99% made up, or 99% true and 1% made up, and the reader won’t know the difference, the writer doesn’t have to declare. It means he can tell the truth and take the Fifth simultaneously.” Peter Ho Davies has taken full advantage of this cover to write a funny, tender and unflinchingly honest account of fatherhood, of the ways it can wound you and confound you, but also of its potential for transcendent, transformative joy.

Reviews

4 stars out of 5
25 Jan 2021

"Tender yet clear-eyed, this is a thoughtful, consistently intriguing book, covering a lot of ground in a short space."

Peter Ho Davies’s last novel, The Fortunes, about Chinese migrants to the US, felt most alive when it swapped historical reconstruction for veiled autobiography. Maybe he thought so too: his new book stays close to the source of his most stimulating material, portraying early fatherhood as experienced by an unnamed creative writing teacher in the US – Ho Davies in silhouette, basically... Philosophical as well as confessional, Ho Davies’s autofictional proxy shrewdly dissects the mixed-up emotions of parenthood while speculating on, say, why children love dinosaurs (it’s a way of thinking about adults), or why his distaste for anti-abortion rhetoric leaves him unsure of how best to tell them about “babies in tummies”. Tender yet clear-eyed, this is a thoughtful, consistently intriguing book, covering a lot of ground in a short space.

4 stars out of 5
25 Jan 2021

"Little is left to the imagination in a tender work of autofiction about a writing teacher’s experiences as a new dad"

Philosophical as well as confessional, Ho Davies’s autofictional proxy shrewdly dissects the mixed-up emotions of parenthood while speculating on, say, why children love dinosaurs (it’s a way of thinking about adults), or why his distaste for anti-abortion rhetoric leaves him unsure of how best to tell them about “babies in tummies”. Tender yet clear-eyed, this is a thoughtful, consistently intriguing book, covering a lot of ground in a short space.

4 stars out of 5
Suzi Feay
20 Jan 2021

"In a slim novel about parenthood, Davies explores the big questions of life, sex, morality and mortality"

In a relatively brief narrative, Davies encompasses some of the hugest questions of life, sex, morality and mortality. The prose might be spare and elegant, but the mess, muddle and sheer silliness of ordinary life is sharply evoked. A book about fatherhood becomes a book about writing a book about fatherhood; because the lie someone told you is fiction itself.

4 stars out of 5
Claire Lowdon
10 Jan 2021

"The former Granta Young British Novelist lays himself bare in a moving account of a terminated pregnancy"

For most of this ambitious book, Davies’s bold tell-all policy makes for moving and compelling reading. He has gone so much further than most: taken off his clothes, walked right to the end of the wubbering gangplank, stood there shivering for all to see. And although, finally, he fails to take the plunge, A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself is still admirable for the brave new things it has to say about shame, regret, fatherhood and love.