Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices… Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?”
A dazzling novel about all the choices that go into a life well lived, from the internationally bestselling author of Reasons to Stay Alive and How To Stop Time.
Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?
The Lies We Tell is a gripping, thought-provoking book about the lengths we’d go to to protect someone close to us.
Sarah and Tom’s son Freddy comes home one evening and says he’s done something terrible. This instantly divides the two parents, who have very different views on how they should handle this – Tom wants to call the police whilst Sarah’s first instinct is to protect her son at all costs.
Rewind to when Sarah and Tom first met, and we learn how their relationship developed despite being, ultimately, very different people. I really enjoyed this insight into their lives, and seeing it all play out as Freddy comes into their lives and being parents takes its toll on both of them. It also sheds some light on why they react so differently to the situation. My opinion of both Tom and Sarah definitely shifted considerably as I read more about their history together.
I assumed that The Lies We Tell was going to be a mystery-filled, tense thriller but it’s definitely not – it focuses more on the characters, particular Sarah, and how their pasts all play a part in their reaction to Freddy’s crime. To me, it felt much centred around the character development, and Freddy’s confession is almost just the vehicle to bring this history from all of their pasts into the plot for a lot of the book, although it then becomes much more important as we go back to the present day and Sarah takes matter into her own hands.
I really enjoyed this novel. Sometimes, the way Sarah narrates got on my nerves a bit as there’s a lot of her thoughts: “Oh no! But what will they say about that…? Perhaps he thinks this…” but I get that it was almost a stream of consciousness from her as we sit inside her head. The novel is a slow burning, intriguing read that I would recommend.
Many thanks to the publisher, Penguin, for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest review.