Monday, 20 March 2017
Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney
My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:
1. I’m in a coma.
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
3. Sometimes I lie.
This is fast becoming one of the most famous blurbs in book history. And it is as effective as it is efficient. The only other thing to add is that you really need to read this book!
It's totally fascinating. I have not read something that has completely upended everything I thought I knew about a storyline since "I Let You Go". Feeney's novel really is the next "Gone Girl". Psychological thriller seekers can not afford to miss this book. It's something special. It's quite possibly going to be more talked about than "The Girl on a Train."
I don't quite know how to review Sometimes I Lie. I know I liked it. I know I enjoyed it more and more as I got further and further in to the story. I know it left me completely breathless with twists I did not see coming and I know that it has lingered with me for days since I finished it. I know I found Feeney's plot engaging and was in awe of how cleverly she told her tale. And the characters were very well crafted. But I think my overriding feeling was that it was just fascinating. I am in awe of Feeney's imaginative characters and controlled storytelling. I was fascinated by what the characters were doing, what revelations, complications and unforeseen obstacles shaped the story and by the time I had read the last page I was simply stunned.
There are three main narratives in this novel. We have the present day, with Amber lying in a hospital bed in a coma, then we go back a bit further to the time leading up to the event that lead to her being in a coma and finally we have the story of Amber as a ten year old. All three parts are told in first person by Amber but it is very clear which bit you are reading, even with the help of the headings provided at the top of each new section.
I did feel a slight sense of unease when I realised Amber was narrating from a hospital bed, in a coma and unable to see anything or make full sense of what was happening around her. Not only does this make Amber vulnerable and unreliable, it also creates quite an intense level of tension and suspense. I was a little worried about how Feeney might sustain this and how effective this point of view could be without becoming contrived -but actually it was utterly convincing. Balancing it amongst the voice of ten year old Amber and "Coffee Morning" Amber keeps it plot driven and gives the reader plenty of other clues / hints / characters to concentrate on. I think the sections written from the coma also felt fresh and original.
There were some fantastic lines about 'playing parts', 'learning lines' and 'rehearsing' reactions and behaviours. I also enjoyed all the allusions and references to memory, the mind, "the infinite space between delusion and reality" and our own history. There were also a few references to mirrors which highlighted the theme that nothing is ever as it seems and no one really knows what is going on inside a person.
I liked the use of lists of three things that we first see in the blurb of the book. Feeney uses this technique sparingly throughout the book but when it does appear, it is so pertinent and effective that it immediately catches your eye and draws your attention to something subtly lurking within the pages.
Feeney is clearly a talented author. She is a fantastic writer and I highlighted plenty of sentences which I found striking. I found Sometimes I Lie compelling and a refreshing arrival in the psychological thriller genre. I can't resist a book which makes me reread and reread cliffhangers and final pages; that ends with me letting out a long deep breathe of shock. A book which zags when I expect a zig.
There are three things you should know about me:
1. I'm a bibliomaniac and I say you need to read this book.
2. I'm a book blogger and I say this is novel is already a highlight of 2017.
3. When it comes to recommending books, I never lie.
Sometimes I Lie is published by HQ on 23rd March 2017
For more recommendations and reviews please follow me on Twitter @katherinesunde3 (bibliomaniacuk)