Lie With Me

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 30 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

Upon finishing this short book, I think I'll need some time to develop my thoughts. It requires more time from the reader than it appears based on length.
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"I feel this desire swarming in my belly and running up my spine. But I have to constantly contain and compress it so that it doesn't betray me in front of the others. Because I've already understood that desire is visible."

Philippe Besson is an extraordinary writer with a soul stirring lyrical prose that left me breathless at times. 

In Lie With Me, Besson takes the reader into the vulnerable mind of a 17 year old gay boy, Philippe, as he embarks on a clandestine affair with a classmate, Thomas, eventually falling in in love with the boy he knows he can't keep.

Philippe's delicate and pure nature are the heart of this book and the author conveys his pain and confusion exquisitely. Though it is never addressed, I suspect that this book is at least partially autobiographical which only lended to the emotion it invoked in me 

My only critique would be that I felt, at times, that the author veered too far off course leaving me wanting more of Philippe's thoughts and his experiences as a gay boy trying to navigate his way through France in 1984. 

NOTE: This is a short story, only 90 pages on my Kindle. 

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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This quiet, small, and beautiful novel takes place over decades of two characters' lives. The story is told from the perspective of one of them when they were teenagers and then again a few decades later and then again about ten years after that. This not a plot-rich story. It's not about what happens but it's about youth, identity, and love.

It's about connection and how brief but powerful connections can (and do) have lasting impact on our lives. I originally wanted to read this book because I thought it might be like [book:Call Me By Your Name|36336078] which I loved. And parts of this story might have similarities to that story but to me the two felt very different. 

The prose in this novel is very sparse, very clean. It's so stark that the emotions come to the surface that much more.  I have never read Besson before and it sounds like he is a famous writer and this might be his style. At first, I found it jarring but, over time, I really appreciated the space it provided for me.

This is not a happy story. In fact, I would say it's a really sad story but it's not presented in a way that makes you feel the sadness on the surface like some melodramatic books do. It's subtle and quiet and so the sadness I felt was deeper and quieter. 

Overall, it was a really beautiful story and I am excited to have discovered a new-to-me author. I am looking forward to reading more of his books.

Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for an advanced copy in return for an honest review.
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I was highly anticipating getting into this read for an LGBTQ love story with the setting of France, and places I've never been to felt too good to pass up. Once I began reading, however, I was turned off by the style and diction of the piece. I am not sure if this is the fault of the author, Besson, or the translator, but the writing is underdone and not complex, resembling a ten-year-old's journal. No line surprises me nor enchants me. And "tell" is more practiced than "show" for instance, in the sentence "but let's come back to that winter morning in 1984" is just one example of bland storytelling lacking in originality. It is a shame that I could not connect with this book because the synopsis sounded so promising, but there's plenty more LGBTQ books out there with characters and prose that shine.
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