There are some stories that require as much courage to write as they do art. Peter Ho Davies's achingly honest, searingly comic portrait of fatherhood is just such a story. A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself enacts to profound effect the dark shames, fears, and absurdities that are an inescapable part of family life. The world needs more stories like this one, more of this kind of courage, more of this kind of love.
I never miss a new book by Peter Ho Davies and A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself is his best yet. A taut, raw, clever work of autofiction with a real beating heart, this is the audacious tragicomic novel about fatherhood and long-term love we've been missing.
Peter Ho Davies has long written brilliantly about accidents of culpability and their winding trails. In A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself he has given us a stunning novel of family life, scrupulous and astute, full of home-truths in every sense. Another triumph by an author whose books I love.
A radiant conclusion affirms the daunting cost and overwhelming rewards of raising a child. Perfectly observed and tremendously moving: This will strike a resonant chord with parents everywhere.
Davies explores their emotions with unflinching honesty . . . [His] meditation on the complexities of parenthood is at once celebration and absolution, finding truth in human contradictions.
A raw, intimate look at a couple's journey into parenthood . . . a resonant treatise on identity, family, grieving, writing, and "the taking and telling of other people's stories.
[It] creates controlled art out of life's messy pain . . . There is nothing superfluous in these pages . . . A novel about the comedy and travails of parenting a "twice exceptional" child that earns its place on the shelf alongside the frank and sometimes acerbic memoirs of Rachel Cusk and Anne Enright.
A powerful account of fatherhood . . . a complicated story, told with fearless honesty. The prose is rueful, spare and matter-of-fact, but emotions churn beneath the clean surface. It can be very funny, but it can also stop you in your tracks.
A courageous, honest book . . . has a light touch in exploring other moral dilemmas and uncertainties with which we all grapple, putting your emotions through the wringer in prose full of piercing emotional shards . . . This tender, thought-provoking novel captures the doubts, the worries, the pain and the sheer joy of being a parent
This book is so damn good.
Fierce paternal love spills off every page of this masterful book in a way that recalls Max Porter's Grief Is The Thing With Feathers; lean and darkly funny, it contains not a shred of mawkishness . . . This has been billed as autofiction; however you classify it, it's exceptional.
His deceptively simple, pared-back style is ideal for detailing difficult emotions . . . Davies's bold tell-all policy makes for moving and compelling reading . . . admirable for the brave new things it has to say about shame, regret, fatherhood and love
Davies treats twists of fate with clear-eyed realism, humor, and grace
Davies's novel is a touching, thoughtful portrait of parenthood, with valuable insights into America's corrosive debate on abortion.
His recollections fizz with tell-all voltage . . . Tender yet clear-eyed, this is a thoughtful, consistently intriguing book, covering a lot of ground in a short space.
Davies encompasses some of the hugest questions of life, sex, morality and mortality. The prose might be spare and elegant, but the mess, muddle and sheer silliness of ordinary life is sharply evoked.
A funny, tender and unflinchingly honest account of fatherhood, of the ways it can wound you and confound you, but also of its potential for transcendent, transformative joy.