Justine Larbalestier delivers another fresh, unexpected tale with this story of Micah, a habitual liar. It’s difficult to comment without giving away major plot points, but the nub of it is that Micah’s friend Zach has been murdered, and this book is her attempt to peel away the layers of lies which she tells to uncover the truth.
The story is told in three parts. The first is her story of what happened, both before and after Zach’s death. It’s full of her confessions of the lies she’s told, and hints of a mysterious family illness which have influenced the course of her life. In the second part, the secret of that family illness is revealed. Then, in the third part, Micah goes back to the story she has told and confesses to more lies therein. The stories continue, but we are left with the constant doubt that this, now, is the truth at last.
The last page reminds me a little of Yann Martel’s “The Life of Pi”, though possibly if I say why it will be a spoiler for both books. But behind both is an examination of how we construct stories to make our worlds more bearable.
It’s a beautifully plotted book, written with lively warmth. Micah is a very real person, even within the tangled knot of truths and stories she tells. In the end, deciding how much of what she has said is real is left to the reader. I know what I believe. What’s your decision?
Buy Liar at Amazon.com.