From the American Booksellers Association’s Indie Next List to countless favorable reader reviews, The Truth and Other Lies (June 2015) has received attention from both the publishing industry and book lovers since its American release. With its great writing and unforgettable main character, German author Sascha Arango’s debut is worth every bit of the recognition it’s received and then some.
Henry and Betty have been having an affair for many years. Betty, a younger and prettier woman than Henry’s wife Martha, works for the same publisher that publishes Henry’s novels. The two lovers believe they don’t know much about each other…and they are right. For one, Henry has been keeping a huge secret that only his wife knows: It is Martha, not Henry, who has written all of his bestselling novels.
Henry and Martha didn’t want kids. When his mistress Betty gets pregnant, Henry isn’t sure what to do. He doesn’t think Betty is made for motherhood (and for that matter, Betty thinks Henry would not be a good father). How should he tell his wife? Or should he stay with his wife and leave his mistress? Little does he know, Martha is already suspicious of the affair but doesn’t want to know if her suspicions are true.
Martha, Betty, and, Henry are all compelling characters—you can’t decide whether or not to like them. They are the kind of people who you wouldn’t be surprised if tragedy struck them. Somehow, someway they had it coming to them. There are so many moments early in the story that make you wonder if something bad will, in fact, happen to them. It frustrated me when nothing terrible happened. But then, when something does change, it caught me off guard. This clever pacing and structuring of the story was a brilliant move on the author’s part. The story really grabbed me and the characters intrigued me.
Henry was my favorite. This main character’s life is in quite a tangle. His wife knows most of what is going on and is seemingly tolerant of his affair with Betty. But just like with all the characters, lies and truth are one and the same.
This constant search for the truth among the lies is what kept me turning the pages. Deception is so entertaining. Who was Henry, really? What motive did Betty have for having his baby? Why was Martha so accepting of being Henry’s ghostwriter?
I highly recommend The Truth and Other Lies to thriller and suspense fans, especially those who enjoy character-driven novels. Henry is by far one of the best characters I’ve met this year. He is crafty, clever, and utterly deplorable. Sascha Arango is definitely an author to watch!
Reviewed by Libby Bridges
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