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The Book of Lies ~ Mary Horlock

July 22, 2011

The Book of Lies by Mary Horlock
Genre: Adult Fiction/Historical
Publisher: Harper Perennial
368 pages
ISBN: 9780062065094
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours

Sometimes I like books for the story and sometimes I like books for the storyteller. The Book of Lies by Mary Horlock is definitely in the second category. Though the book is a fantastic tale in and of itself, the true beauty of it lies in the teenaged narrator, Cat. 

Cat’s story starts in 1984, on the Channel Island of Guernsey. It also starts with her immediate dismissal of the horrible death of her previously alleged best friend, Nicolette.  Backtracking as she moves forward, Cat is somewhat of an emotionally changed, unreliable, albeit very enthusiastic source on the life and times of the island’s teens.

Much of Cat’s narration is backlog through the past few decades of the island, hinging primarily on the fall out of the Nazi occupation. The wartime throwback is fleshed out, in full, by entries from Cat’s deceased dad during the time of the occupation, detailing a story very similar to the one being told by his daughter.

Not your average thriller, The Book of Lies is fast paced and intelligent, charming and creepy in all of the right places. The writing is well done, especially on the part of Cat. I did find the bits from her father a little bit confusing to piece together, though his story was easier to get through as it spun deeper into the book. That’s not to say that it was hard to follow but it did seem a bit haphazard and stilted alongside Cat’s brilliantly voiced telling.

This is the very second book that I’ve ever come across dealing with the history of Guernsey (the first, of course, being the super popular The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society). Though that was, I guess, an adorable tale, itself, this was a much more solid and human story and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the Channel Islands or just a really great story.

About Mary Horlock

Mary Horlock is an authority on contemporary art who has worked at the Tate Britain and Tate Liverpool, and curated the Turner Prize for contemporary art. She spent her childhood in Guernsey, and lives in London.

Mary’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, July 19: Life In Review

Wednesday, July 20: Book Hooked Blog

Thursday, July 21: Book Addiction

Friday, July 22: Iwriteinbooks’s blog

Friday, July 22: Diary of an Eccentric

Tuesday, July 26: StephTheBookworm

Tuesday, July 26: Life in the Thumb

Wednesday, July 27: Jenn’s Bookshelves

Thursday, July 28: Rundpinne

Monday, August 1: Crazy for Books

Tuesday, August 2: Peeking Between the Pages

Wednesday, August 3: Sara’s Organized Chaos

Thursday, August 4: I’m Booking It

Friday, August 5:  Savvy Verse & Wit

Friday, August 5: In the Next Room

4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 22, 2011 1:22 pm

    I have heard some varying things about this book, but I have to admit that I’m still a bit intrigued by it. There is something about the precocious and unreliable narrator that really draws me in. Thanks for the great review on this one. I am thinking that I need to check it out!

  2. July 22, 2011 2:41 pm

    I have also seen mixed reviews for this. It does sound like it could be a very interesting read if it isn’t too hard to follow along. I’ve put this on my library list for now.

  3. July 23, 2011 10:43 am

    I’m a fan of the unreliable narrator, and would love to take another/different peek at Guernsey — thanks for the recommendation!

  4. July 26, 2011 1:31 am

    I definitely want to read this one, especially after your review! Thanks for being on the tour.

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