Ever since I read Herman Koch's sucker-punch of a novel The Dinner, I've been craving more of his sardonic, brutal, misanthropic style. I devoured his Summer House with Swimming Pool, and subsequently searched high and low for English translations of his other books. (Koch's Danish publishers, if you're reading this, feel free to send English translations my way.)
Imagine my surprise when I read a review comparing Sascha Arango's The Truth and Other Lies to my beloved Koch's bestseller! I immediately hopped in my car, booked it (heh) to Barnes & Noble, and politely begged a sales associate to help me find the book. Mercifully, she did. Here, in turn, is my review of Sascha Arango's newly-released The Truth and Other Lies.
Meet Henry Hayden: suave, charismatic literary genius. The author of a best-selling book series, with fabulous wealth and a loving wife, Henry has it all. Or so it seems.
The reader quickly discovers that appearances can't be trusted: Henry is not the true author of his books; his reclusive wife is. Underneath his façade, Henry is the product of a rough upbringing. After spending years surviving on stolen money, Henry has the good fortune to end up spending a night with the woman who will eventually become his wife. He discovers her incredible talent for writing, and, with her consent, presents himself as the author of her "Frank Ellis" series—an instant bestseller.
As the story develops, and the sins of Henry's past - and present - come to light, he schemes and plots to destroy those who stand in his way. His ultimate goal: protecting his secrets—both personal and professional.
With subplots involving a wide range of characters including Henry's wife, his mistress, employees of his publishing company, a childhood schoolmate from Henry's past, and a local fisherman, this story is fast-paced and intricate, tethering the lives of many unfortunate souls to the destructive force that is Henry Hayden.
So, how does it compare to The Dinner?
While nothing could beat Koch for me, Arango's story is nothing short of thrilling. Though it lacks the subtlety of The Dinner, this novel makes up for it in pure entertainment. Murder, deception, hallucinations, natural disasters—The Truth and Other Lies has it all. Throw in a protagonist who is equal parts compelling and repulsive, and you can consider this my new favorite thriller of 2015.