The Book of Lies, By Mary Horlock

 

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The Independent Culture

Set on Guernsey, Horlock's gutsy debut is a generational saga, but not as we know it. Catherine Rozier is a large, precociously clever young woman known as the "Human Pavlova".

When the novel opens, she's peering over the edge of a cliff with a 3,000ft drop. It's from here, she tells us, that she pushed her best-friend, Nicolette Prevost, to her death.

Interwoven with Catherine's account is the 1965 testimony of her uncle, Charles Rozier, who believes his anti-Nazi activities during the island's occupation led to his own father's death. That the two young people's stories share parallels quickly becomes apparent.

Horlock leaves us to untangle the official and unofficial versions of their lives, while conjuring up a vivid portrait of island life and its petty betrayals.

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