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My Favorite Lies (Paperback) Loot Price: R406
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My Favorite Lies (Paperback): Ruth Hamel
My Favorite Lies (Paperback): Ruth Hamel

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My Favorite Lies (Paperback)

Ruth Hamel

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Loot Price R406 Discovery Miles 4 060

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A debut collection of clever, deftly written stories, by an author who's appeared in such places as the "Kenyon Review", "North American Review", and the "Missouri Review". The 14 tales exhibit a refreshing variety of types-male and female, young and old, beautiful and ugly-but Hamel's favorite is the modest 30-something who realizes that his or her view of the world remains as confused as it was in childhood. In "The Nemesis," a shy white-collar worker finds herself drawn to the office's resident "asshole," having daily lunches with him for reasons she can't explain. "Go" presents a 35-year-old heroine whose mother depends on kitsch to liven up their relationship, and the two of them jokingly (but eerily) treat an inflatable doll modeled on Munch's "The Scream" as if it were a baby. The title character of "Myra" is an older woman who, trying to prevent future women from being named Myra, brings two other elderly Myras into her life. Hamel delights in shrewd understatement, and her resolutions are often subtle and mysterious. In simple but artful language, she presents a wealth of witty observations on her characters. In "The Years in Review," a married couple "disdained divorce as unimaginative and overidealistic-tacky American, like Lotto or hair transplants." The heroine of "The Nemesis" understands that her father "seemed to enjoy sailing, but what he really enjoyed was humiliating pretenders to the nautical lifestyle." In "Toys," a woman thinks of her husband, "He was more or less the same man she'd met ten years before in a porta-potty line outside a Metallica concert." But comic observation isn't the only show here; Hamel's characters are often wounded, sometimes stranded, and she invokes powerful sympathy for them. Her subtly comic tone recalls Lorrie Moore, who's also shown that she can make exceptional stories from middling ideas. There's some inconsistency here-the opening tale in particular seems subpar-but, still, this is an auspicious beginning for a very talented writer. (Kirkus Reviews)
There's one thing I know: Lies hold people together. So says the narrator of the title story, a furniture refinisher who prides herself on her talent for sidestepping the facts. If only she weren't continually frustrated by her truth-telling older sister. If only the past would keep its distance. In My Favorite Lies, Ruth Hamel uses a unique blend of humor, irony, and telling detail to explore the lies people tell each other - not just the fibs, prevarications, and exaggerations, but the deceptions that spring from deliberate silence. These stories examine the lies we tell ourselves as we struggle to bridge the gap between who we are and who we'd rather be. One of the most striking characteristics of Hamel's work is the masterful economy of language that brings to life her characters and their situations within a few sentences of any story's opening. Some of these characters have reached adulthood with unhealed emotional wounds from childhood and are in the process of coming to terms with their parents or siblings. Others are detached from the social life around them and are finding temporary solace with a partner who is similarly alienated. We observe their stumbling efforts to resolve these lingering conflicts. Inevitably these stories confront the nature of love in its various guises. One character is puzzled by her mother's fidelity to her hypocritical father, but explains it with words that apply to her own awkward relationships: ""Because somehow, against all the evidence to the contrary, you see something to love. And somehow it's enough."" Whether they're trying to escape their pasts, their families, or their own worst impulses, the characters in Hamel's stories make the same discovery: The truth will always become apparent.


Imprint: University of Missouri Press
Country of origin: United States
Release date: November 2001
First published: November 2001
Authors: Ruth Hamel
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 16mm (L x W x T)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 192
ISBN-13: 978-0-8262-1356-3
Barcode: 9780826213563
Categories: Books > Fiction > Special features > Short stories
Books > Fiction > General & literary fiction > Modern fiction
LSN: 0-8262-1356-1

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