The Liar’s Wife: Four Novellas

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Johnny, the liar of the title story, is Irish. A lifetime ago, he and Jocelyn were married for a short while. Now, Jocelyn lingers, mourning, in a house inherited from her mother. Johnny stops by, unannounced, for long enough to demonstrate that he, a mendacious vagabond, still loves and celebrates life.

Genevieve LeClos studied under Simone Weil in France, in 1933. In 1942, Genevieve is married, a new mother, living in New York. When she catches sight of Simone on the street, her impulse is to hide. Simone is trying to return to Europe and join the Free French.

Billy Morton is selected to introduce Thomas Mann when he comes to speak at Billy’s high school. Billy prepares by reading Mann’s novels, which speak eloquently of good and evil and moral responsibility.

Theresa Riordan, raised in Milwaukee and educated by nuns, goes to Yale on a graduate fellowship. Her mentor arranges a month in Italy, to study 15th century sculpture.

Each story’s protagonist has experiences during the narrative that causes profound change in his or her world view and expectations: Billy and Theresa are exhilarated, while Jocelyn and Genevieve are startled and rather saddened.

It is Gordon’s great strength to create densely nuanced worlds, enlivened by vivid characters. What she conveys in remarkably few pages is astonishing.

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Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 304 pages
Publisher Pantheon
Publish Date 2014-Aug-05
ISBN 9780307377432 Buy this Book
Issue June 2014
Category Poetry & Short Stories


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