A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself
Peter Ho Davies
‘There are some stories that require as much courage to write as they do art. Peter Ho Davies’s achingly honest, searingly comic portrait of fatherhood is just such a story . . . The world needs more stories like this one, more of this kind of courage, more of this kind of love.’ – Sigrid Nunez, National Book Award-winning author of The Friend
When does sorrow turn to shame? When does love become labour? When does chance become choice? And when does fact become fiction?
A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself traces the complex consequences of one of the most personal yet public, intimate yet political, experiences a family can have: to have a child, and conversely, the decision not to have a child. A woman’s first pregnancy is interrupted by test results at once catastrophic and uncertain, leaving her and her husband, a writer, reeling. A second pregnancy ends in a fraught birth, a beloved child, the purgatory of further tests – and questions that reverberate down the years.
This spare, supple narrative chronicles the flux of parenthood, marriage, and the day-to-day practice of loving someone. As challenging as it is vulnerable, as furious as it is tender, as touching as it is darkly comic, Peter Ho Davies’s new novel is an unprecedented depiction of fatherhood.
Peter Ho Davies has long written brilliantly about accidents of culpability and their winding trails. In A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself he has given us a stunning novel of family life, scrupulous and astute, full of home-truths in every sense. Another triumph by an author whose books I love. -- Joan Silber, National Book Critics Circle Award-winning author of Improvement I never miss a new book by Peter Ho Davies and A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself is his best yet. A taut, raw, clever work of autofiction with a real beating heart, this is the audacious tragicomic novel about fatherhood and long-term love we've been missing. -- Claire Vaye Watkins, author of Battleborn and Gold Fame Citrus There are some stories that require as much courage to write as they do art. Peter Ho Davies's achingly honest, searingly comic portrait of fatherhood is just such a story. A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself enacts to profound effect the dark shames, fears, and absurdities that are an inescapable part of family life. The world needs more stories like this one, more of this kind of courage, more of this kind of love. -- Sigrid Nunez, National Book Award-winning author of The Friend Davies explores their emotions with unflinching honesty . . . [His] meditation on the complexities of parenthood is at once celebration and absolution, finding truth in human contradictions. * Publishers Weekly * A radiant conclusion affirms the daunting cost and overwhelming rewards of raising a child. Perfectly observed and tremendously moving: This will strike a resonant chord with parents everywhere. * Kirkus Reviews * A raw, intimate look at a couple's journey into parenthood . . . a resonant treatise on identity, family, grieving, writing, and "the taking and telling of other people's stories. * Booklist * This book is so damn good. -- Celeste Ing, author of Little Fires Everywhere [It] creates controlled art out of life's messy pain . . . There is nothing superfluous in these pages . . . A novel about the comedy and travails of parenting a "twice exceptional" child that earns its place on the shelf alongside the frank and sometimes acerbic memoirs of Rachel Cusk and Anne Enright. -- Claire Messud * Harper's Magazine * A courageous, honest book . . . has a light touch in exploring other moral dilemmas and uncertainties with which we all grapple, putting your emotions through the wringer in prose full of piercing emotional shards . . . This tender, thought-provoking novel captures the doubts, the worries, the pain and the sheer joy of being a parent -- Martin Chilton * Independent * A powerful account of fatherhood . . . a complicated story, told with fearless honesty. The prose is rueful, spare and matter-of-fact, but emotions churn beneath the clean surface. It can be very funny, but it can also stop you in your tracks. -- James Smart * Guardian *
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