Saturday, September 7, 2019

Book Review: Lie With Me: A Novel by Phillippe Besson, translated by Molly Ringwald

Publisher: Scribner (April, 2019)
Pages: 160

Besson’s story follows the lives of two men, starting in high school(1984), picked up again in 2007, and again in 2016. The lion’s share of the story takes place in the HS period where the two have a sexual awakening with each other. What starts as a purely physical relationship morphs into something more. Still, during this time living is a small rural town in France, the boys must hide their growing love. The story continues to focus on the boys as they approach the time when they are deciding what's next with their lives. Each faces a time of personal angst trying to come to grips with their sexuality, cultural norms, and whether they are at peace in their own skin. The last two time periods are the results of their decisions and reflections of what could have been. The last chapter, although the shortest of the three, is perhaps the most powerful, and the most distressing. 

Written like a memoir, the characters come alive, and the reader, at least this reader, came to understand and appreciate the depth of emotions of these men caught in a time and situation where they had to fight for scrapes of happiness that never seemed to last long. 

This was a quick read but I found it encaptivating, mostly because of Besson’s lovely, sparse writing style. While reading this story, I often flashed on the novels Call Me By Your Nameand Brokeback Mountainbecause of the similar storyline. 

I can recommend this book, but if you’re a reader who demands a HEA ending to your romances then you will be sorely disappointed.