Wednesday, 20 February 2019

All The Little Lies by Chris Curran

Review by JJ Marsh

What we thought:

A chance email with a casual link to a newspaper article about an artist triggers a revelation for Eve. A new mother herself, her emotions are more vulnerable when she realises that artist is her birth mother. The one her parents apparently knew nothing about.

The long-buried secret trope is much overdone and despite my admiration for this writer, I approached this book with concerns. Two nights later, I'd forgotten what I was worried about. 

This is a perfectly wrought psychological drama times two. The dual narrative of Eve and her mother puts the reader into the uncertainty and naïveté of both women.  The characters, voices and relationships are so sharp they could have been cut with a Stanley knife. Right until the end, I was still unsure who to trust.

In addition to the well-woven, tense and emotionally literate narratives, Curran evokes her locations with an expressionistic flair. The characters' perspectives are reflected in their physical environment, used to stunning effect in the dénouement. Hills, steps, bridges and levels of a gallery echo internal landscapes. This is a film-maker's dream.

This is a tense, intelligent and layered thriller which makes you ask yourself why you believe the stories you've been told. This is a writer who just gets better.

You’ll enjoy this if you liked: Don't Look Now by Nicolas Roeg, Cry by Helen Fitzgerald or Mindsight by Chris Curran

Avoid if you don’t like: Dual narratives, time shifts, stories of adoption

Ideal accompaniments: Ginger beer, pomegranate seeds and a view of the Tyne 

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