By Ekta R. Garg
August 12, 2015
Rated: Bypass it
A man living a lie must think on his feet when tragedy lands directly on his doorstep. He needs to keep the world at bay so no one finds out the sordid details of his present and his past. As time passes, however, he begins to wonder whether he really can live with his choices. Author Sascha Arango gives readers a Gone Girl-esque novel with none of the zip of that book in the slow-moving novel The Truth and Other Lies.
Henry Hayden has earned a great deal of acclaim as a novelist of thrillers. His fans come to him in droves wanting to know the secret of his success. Unfortunately he can’t share that secret with anyone except his wife, because she is at the heart of it. No one knows that Henry’s wife is the real author of his novels.
In a strange arrangement, Henry’s wife is content to peck away at her typewriter and let her husband take all the credit. Henry meets and greets the fans, signs copies, and smiles for the cameras. He also has a deeply personal connection to the publishing house that “discovered” him, especially with his editor.
In fact, his relationship with his editor is more personal than professional, and when the relationship spirals out of control Henry must make some tough decisions. At least, they would be tough for someone else in his position. For Henry the decisions reflect decisions he’s made all his life. With a dark past and a nature to match, Henry just takes his choices in stride. As those choices create complications, Henry must orchestrate his escape plan with great care.
Author Sascha Arango tries to mirror the success that Gillian Flynn achieved with Gone Girl: a brooding protagonist; unexpected twists and turns; a sordid past. Unfortunately Flynn’s book, albeit disturbing, succeeds on every account. The Truth and Other Lies doesn’t go into its darkest corners with the same level of dedication or intention. As a result Henry, the main character, comes off a little circumspect, almost timid. Yes, he executes his decision with a calm rationale, but his decisions don’t seem to amount to much in the long run.
Equally flat is Henry’s wife. Readers never find out why she’s so content to write and let Henry take all the credit. Because the narration never shifts to her point of view, readers don’t get to know anything about her and won’t really care much about her after a while. Even a plot twist only creates a temporary diversion.
Despite its aspirations the book never really fulfills them. I would recommend readers Bypass The Truth and Other Lies.
(I was given a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for my unbiased, honest review.)