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SEVEN LIES [Hardcover]

James Lasdun

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape (2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224075926
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224075923
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.4 x 2.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 322 g

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The anatomy of corruption Oct. 19 2005
By Brendan Bernard - Published on
After reading (and re-reading) Lasdun's first novel "The Horned Man", I was eager to see what he would do in his next outing. The astonishing "Seven Lies" has exceeded my expectations. It is the most complete and powerful dramatization of the corruption of an individual human being that I have ever encountered, in fiction or non-fiction. The process of this corruption -- in a world where lies are rewarded and truth must be hidden at all costs -- is the novel's central concern. The plot, with its satisfying twists and intricacies, I will leave for you the pleasure of discovering on your own.

The action takes place in New York and East Berlin shortly before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Though beautifully rendered, the Berlin that Lasdun creates transcends the specific place and becomes a state of mind -- the poisoning of narrator Stefan Vogel's soul could be taking place anywhere, and probably is.

The great, added pleasure of reading Lasdun is his extraordinary and unique mastery of the English language. His writing has the effect of a camera in close up, only in this case the camera illuminates thought and emotion as well as life's surface. When Lasdun zeroes in on a detail, he seems to stop time. There is no one today, to my knowledge, who writes with quite this subtlety and command.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where is the audience for this masterpiece!! March 14 2006
By K. B. - Published on
I can't believe that there is only one review for this book. Lasdun is one of our truly beautiful modern authors. But his style timeless. This read will truly take you along the downward spiral into the rotted soul of a battered man. You can see the corrosion of his being progress from a young age during the middle of the Cold War in East Germany. It has a snowball-affect that takes you through the rest of the novel. All the way through, as in the Horned Man, it is a pychologically gripping read. Recommended to all who would like to introduce a very worthy new author into their catalog. Read, and then spread the word of the beautiful writing that you have witnessed.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lasdun an undiscovered gem Oct. 8 2006
By shanarufus - Published on
The previous two reviews say it all. Just want to agree with their words and hope more people discover this undiscovered author. I first knew his name when I saw the Bertolucci movie Besieged and got the collection of short stories at the library, the title story upon which the movie is based. Somehow he fell off my radar and he's come back to me and I've just recently read Seven Lies and The Horned Man--loved them both. His writing is to use the overused word nothing short of brilliant. In the case of Vogel, Lasdun will bring you down down down into the well of Vogel's spiritual decay. Lasdun writes poetry as well and has several books but I only know the short stories and two novels. To anticipate other books by Lasdun is a reason to live.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful structuring July 21 2007
By wbjonesjr1 - Published on
Picked this up after a strong review in the Economist, and found this a wonderful novel. The impeccable plotline structure and beautiful writing call for re-reading the novel immediately after finishing it. Characterization is a delight, as is the psychological depth and rendering of post-war East Germany. I will most definitely be reading more of Lasdun in future
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark gem May 26 2009
By Greenwich St. - Published on
I was impressed by Lasdun's twisty, intriguing Horned Man but I think Seven Lies is a notch better -- the kind of work that makes you plot a second reading before even finishing the first. At some point I began realizing that I would need a second copy, just so that I could feel free to underline whole paragraphs of iridescent and insightful prose. What is equally impressive to me is Lasdun's tricky deftness in plotting -- just when you think he's let a thread unintentionally drop you realize that he's been leaving it slack for a last-minute twist -- and the vivid originality of his psychological portrayals. I don't think I've ever read a better description of depressed passivity than Stefan's (the protagonist) musings or a more painful depiction of passionless, well-intentioned lovemaking, or an equally vivid take on the rush New York City's street life delivers to recent European immigrants. Another of Lasdun's great gifts is his ability to convey aspects of character that the first-person narrator himself does not perceive, so that by the novel's very end we understand that what the Stefan has presented as reality is, in fact, evidence of a destructive blind spot. Not a feel-good book by any means, unless brilliant fiction makes you feel good!

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