This was a Richard & Judy pick for Spring 2017 and I’d agree with them that this is a good summer read, both as a psychological thriller along the lines of Gone Girl and as a character study of the literary poseur in the character of Paul Morris, the author of a one-hit-wonder he wrote while at university and is still milking years later.
First though I have to remark that it’s gas how lately the titles of novels have to contain certain words to gain attention – first it was “girl” and now “lie” and in between we had “sister” and any combination of “husband” & “wife” (just type any of these into Amazon and you’ll see what I mean).
Anyway, back to Lie with me… This is the story of a writer turned professional sponger whose propensity for lying both to others and himself is little short of pathological – at first I wondered if he suffered from brain damage as he seemed not to remember huge tracts of his life which intersected with other characters in the novel. Gradually you realise that this is necessary both to the build-up of tension in the narrative, through tantalising hints carefully placed, but also so that the plot isn’t given away too early. I did guess some of the twists quite early on, but not all by any means, which is good enough for me.
Much of the story takes place on a Greek island located somewhere between Corfu & Albania, and the seediness and poverty that lies beneath the touristy trappings of much of that benighted country is well conveyed, and is a fitting backdrop to Paul’s tawdry lifestyle and the murky revelations to come.
Kudos to Durrant for writing from the point of view of a man, I thought she did so quite successfully, though I suppose you’d have to ask the opinion of a male reviewer. Morris reminded me a bit of Will Freeman in About a boy by Nick Hornby, another indolent drifter, but with an infinitely more appealing personality. In fact don’t read this book if you expect to care about the characters (you’ll want to drive them all of cliffs with pitchforks) but if you’re after a page-turner with a morally ambiguous main character who may or may not achieve redemption, and that delivers some decent surprises, this is for you.