I picked The Liar off the shelf partially because I loved the cover, and partially because it was written by the oh-so-fabulous Stephen Fry. I’m a gigantic lover of all things Fry… except for his fiction it would seem… But I could blame it on the genre, combining private school shenanigans and spy story conventions- not my cup of tea at all.
I was dying to love it. But I just didn’t. It wasn’t terrible, it just wasn’t for me. There were some moments of utter linguistic genius; his command of the polysyllabic is unsurpassable. And he has flair when it comes to inventing swear words and insults. His narrative technique was flawless in my opinion. And there were some truly snort-inducing one-liners… Some might say it was a bit vulgar, but that didn’t bother me at all… I have two brothers!
But the less great parts of the book were the characters. I couldn’t relate to any of them- they were either intolerable (like the protagonist, Adrian) or just barely there. I only really enjoy novels when I am able to ‘bond’ with the characters, and I just couldn’t do that here…
I hate saying this, I feel like I’m being disloyal… but someone recently gave me a good piece of advice regarding book reviews- review the book you read, not the book you wish they’d written. And so that’s what I’m trying to do. The story was a little baffling, I never entirely grasped the jumps through time. However, this could easily be blamed on the fact that this was my bus book, and I’m rarely at my most absorbent before 8am. I also felt like there was a lot of build-up to the action, which then got neatly resolved a bit too quickly.
However, I intend to push through and get past my lukewarm feelings for The Liar and, out of love for the big man, read some more of his stuff. I have faith that he won’t disappoint.