I received The Lie from a book swap with a couple of friends in Indonesia. Although not a light holiday read (as you can probably tell from the cover), The Lie had an absorbing storyline and structure. I wouldn’t describe it as a memorable book, but I do have fond memories of reading it while sipping on a refreshing papaya juice on Gili Trawangan (ah, those were the days!).
However The Lie is as far from sunshine and fruit juices as you could imagine. Set just after the First World War, it follows Daniel, a returned soldier struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder and trying to come to terms with life back in his home town.
From the very first page Dunmore sets the bleak tone which never ceases. Whether it’s the harsh reality of the small patch of land Daniel lives on in Cornwall, or the overpowering stink of thick mud from his flashbacks, the horror of war is never far away.
The theme of deceit is ever present throughout the book. Daniel’s own lies from the past haunt him and he has an overwhelming feeling of betrayal from the war, where so many men were meaninglessly sent to their deaths. But there’s also his most recent lie which gives the reader a sense of doom from the very beginning. Is this the lie that will finally catch up with him?
The Lie didn’t blow me away, but I’d like to see what else Helen Dunmore has to offer. I’ve been recommended a couple of her other novels. Can anyone suggest which one to try next?
Get your own copy of The Lie by clicking on he picture below!