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True Story Reviews

True Story by Kate Reed Petty

True Story: this genre-defying novel marks the arrival of a powerful new literary voice

Kate Reed Petty

3.50 out of 5

3 reviews

Imprint: riverrun
Publisher: Quercus Publishing
Publication date: 4 Aug 2020
ISBN: 9781787478442

A brilliant and genre-defying novel about rape, memory and the nature of truth from an exciting new voice in contemporary US fiction

4 stars out of 5
Laura Wilson
22 Aug 2020

"a powerful and thought provoking examination of how the manipulation of stories "

Even without legal obfuscation, the truth can be hard to establish. Its slippery nature, together with the ways in which we reframe the experiences of others to serve our own ends, is the theme of Kate Reed Petty’s disturbing debut. Genre-defying, with a structure that utilises film scripts, college admission essays and emails as well as conventional narrative, True Story is the tale of an alleged assault at an American high school sports team’s party in 1999.


3 stars out of 5
15 Aug 2020

"the idea seems more important than the story"

The four-genre concept is generally effective. The treatment of Alice in the parts written as memoir is arguably more shocking than any of the gore and violence in the horror and thriller sections. Nick, with his blind willingness to defend his friends, is more dangerous than the cliché villain who follows him around. But, sadly, the idea seems more important than the story, which lacks focus, making the author too present and her characters merely part of an agenda.

3 stars out of 5
Sarah Gilmartin
10 Aug 2020

"Kate Reed Petty’s genre-hopping novel focuses on lives altered by a true-or-false story"

Petty is a clever writer with a sardonic wit. In the less believable parts of the book, such as Alice’s stint with Q, there are still moments that ping: “Neither of us knew where we were headed. A new impasse. It almost makes me laugh, now, to write it, because it sounds like just one of those things that happens in relationships. We never talk anymore. We want different things, aren’t sure how to communicate. Also one of us is poisoning me.”