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The Truth

3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  721 ratings  ·  141 reviews
Keith Mabbut is at a crossroads in his life. When he is offered the opportunity of a lifetime - to write the biography of the elusive Hamish Melville, a highly influential activist and humanitarian - he seizes the chance to write something meaningful. His search to find out the real story behind the legend takes Mabbut to Orissa and the environmental hotspots of India. The ...more
Hardcover, 261 pages
Published July 5th 2012 by Weidenfeld & Nicolson (first published 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,161)
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Maya Panika
Not at all what I was expecting when I started reading - or in a book from Michael Palin. I'm not sure what I was expecting; something closer to his travel books, something more overtly comic, or earnest, I suppose (it is a book, in part, about a renowned environmentalist). What I found was a beautifully understated mystery about a well-meaning, investigative journo who has sold out, mainly, it seems, to finance the demands of a failing marriage. Failing marriage aside, it feels like there's a l ...more
Biogeek
This is not Palin's best writing endeavor. It isn't even his best novel, as this is far less colorful and engaging than his 1990s's novel, Hemingway's Chair. This is an oddly unemotional, almost drab, novel about very important subjects, and that may be the problem. In an effort to craft a book about multinational destruction of ecosystems, while also casting a critical eye on the publishing world, the problems of middle age, the nature of the British family, the true meaning of integrity ...jus ...more
Jamie
I bought this book at Stafford's book store while on vacation in London. On the heals of reading Rachel Joyce's "The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry," I found myself again in the neighborhoods and Underground stations I'd just visited, in the company of yet another older Baby Boomer working his way through the last tangles of a messy mid-life. Don't get me wrong--I love their company. And I love that both these books took time to smell the roses along the way. In "The Truth" the roses are inst ...more
Mira
Begin with a confession first. I'm a huge Palin fan. He can do no wrong in my eyes. I feel like I should be wearing a blue shirt and beige chinos to write this review!

This is the first Michael Palin fiction I've read. It's about a writer, who used to write to defend his beliefs as an angry young man but who has slowly been sucked into writing books for The Man and covering up shady events by rewriting or omitting facts from history.

When he receives an offer to write about his hero, the elusive a
...more
Josie
As a Monty Python fan, it was Michael Palin, the entertainer, that drew me to this book.

A middle aged, award winning journalist, Keith Mabbut, somehow lost his way from the young, investigative, pro-environment writer he was to become a corporate hack whose latest work extols the virtues of an oil refinery. When a slick publishing firm offers him a plum assignment to write a biography on one of the world's most notorious and successful crusaders against corporate injustices, Mabbut sees an oppor
...more
Steve
Expecting a clever comedy from renowned ex-Python Michael Palin, what I got instead was a thought-provoking treatise on progress, family, and passion, all encompassed in the adventures of an everyman called Keith Mabbut. It might be easy enough to sum him up simply as a middle-aged man, what with the implied unfulfilled goals, sense of life passing by with a whimper instead of a shout, frayed relationships between ex-wives and adult children, compromises made, integrity cheated, and fleeting sen ...more
Margaret
Keith Mabbut wants to be a good bloke. He supports the right causes. He donates to the right charities. He gives his daughter's Iranian boyfriend a huge sum of money to help him get some family members out of trouble. He wants to be friends with his estranged wife, if that's possible. And mostly, he wants to write a novel, but ends up working on books about other good people, altruistic, brave champions of the little guy, like infamous raconteur Hamish Melville, a man he's long admired.

When we
...more
Michael Charton
Hey, I am a Python fan and I participate on Mr. Palin's site Palin's Travels. Some may find this review slightly biased, but there you have it. No question, I wouldn't have read the book were it not for Mr. Palin being the author.

The protagonist, Keith Mabbut reminded me a little of John Mortimer's Rumpole of the Bailey when Rumpole calls himself a Bailey hack. Keith Mabbut in his writing career might also be described the same way.

Keith Mabbut's agent gets him a deal to write a book about elusi
...more
Trunatrschild
A sad gentle tale about a man passing middle age and realizing that he's not fulfilled the promise that he thought he had when he was younger. Kieth Mabbut who once had been an award winning investigative journalist finally wakes up while writing a book paid for by an oil corporation about said oil corporation and realizes that he's really going nowhere fast. A rather late midlife crises occurs as he loses his wife and is losing his kids and ends his contract and he decides to do something about ...more
Jessica
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lois
The book started out very slow and flat, I didn't enjoy part one very much at all. However it really picked up with parts two and three, once Mabbut travels to India.

Although very well written, the first part of the story is about feeling stuck, disillusioned and discouraged, which I have experienced enough in my own life that I didn't need eighty pages to describe it for me. It wasn't really the kind of story that pulls you along in the beginning, but something you have to push through reading
...more
Pascale
This novel deals with an intriguing theme of great contemporary relevance: a publisher hires a once well-regarded journalist to investigate the life of a highly successful environmental activist whose means and methods are a closely-garded secret. The journalist, who is at a crossroads in his personal and professional life, is initially most reluctant to take up this suspiciously lucrative offer, but finally embraces the challenge and finds out a lot more than he bargained for. Although the pace ...more
Maddie
For those expecting Python-esque hilarity, this isn't the book for you. A quietly thoughtful, and profound allegorical view of the world and media today, The Truth highlights what is wrong with people, the media, the news; it shows that nothing should get in the way of a good headline.
Why read about difficult subjects that actually will an impact on everyone's day to day lives, when you can keep up with the Kardashians?
Well done Mr Palin, well done. I finished the book with a grin on my face, as
...more
Paul
I'm going to forgo an actual review here (an easy and tepid read, if you must have one) and talk about something else.

Let's be honest: nobody would have read -- or published -- this book if its author weren't Michael Palin. *The* Michael Palin, as it were, of Monty Python fame. So it's not unfair to judge "The Truth" in that context. How does it measure up?

And against which Michael Palin are we going to measure? The core member of Monty Python? Or the star of dull travelogues? (I'm not the only
...more
Joe Follansbee
You can read a book through different lenses. Most reviewers of The Truth, the second novel by ex-Monty Python comic Michael Palin, read it as mainstream literature. I read it through a narrower lens, as a writer interested in how fiction makers work with environmental themes. Seen in this way, Palin’s book is about hero-worship, and how emotional closeness to a subject can obscure the truth.

Protagonist Keith Mabbut is a divorced, middle-aged writer personally and professionally adrift. In his y
...more
Audrey
I can usually read a Michael Palin book in less than a week. He is a terrifically lyrical writer. Because of life's circumstances, finishing this book took a lot longer than usual. However, I stayed with it and am glad I did. This is a contemporary plot with intersecting storylines - each a great story on its own. For the first time in a long time, I found myself casting the characters for what would eventually be a thrilling movie.
judy
Because I discussed it with a friend a few days ago, I remember how bummed I was with Rowling's Casual Vacancy and how hard I worked to rationalize it into something I liked. Here I am with Python Michael Palin and in that same place again. The difference is that I'm not going to rationalize it or trick myself into finding redeeming value. The simple truth is I'm as much an idealist as Palin's main character. "The world is too much with us". Who knew that decades later Wordsworth's poem would co ...more
Dorothy
I'm starting this review although I've barely started the book, because I want to remember my first impressions.

I wish he'd started the story at Chapter 4. In the first few pages, it felt like he'd forgotten he was writing a novel and thought he was back writing travel books, we got so much unnecessary description of the Shetlands. Then we got three chapters setting up Mabbutt's character and history, nine-tenths of which was superfluous. I couldn't help feeling that if an unknown author had sub
...more
Niall Young
A wondrous book that lifts one out of the ordinary by perfectly describing the same very ordinary that most of us live it - at yet… Palin explores the trials of life and the challenges that face us through the humdrum of everyday, and yet transposes us to a world that is well beyond our norms. Just as the protagonist is 'getting it together' and you think you've worked it out, and just when the ending appears to be in sight and beings to leave you with the , 'No, don't end it like that' feeling ...more
Jennifer
Also posted to Jen in Bookland

The Truth was a fun light read, though I cannot help but be a little disappointed it wasn't a bit deeper though. It didn't dig into the issues just a little bit more. It felt like it just skimmed over everything so.

The book started off and I was really confused as to what it would be about. It was kind of boring with Mabbut up working on his oil rig story thing. I almost stopped reading it as it was just not that good. Then he gets the job of writing about Melville,
...more
Andrew
This book surprised me in several ways. Being written by a comedy legend, I was expecting it it be a little more funny and a lot less serious than it turned out to be.
Not that that's a bad thing. There are several humerus moments, but it is the main character that us surprising. Initially you think he's going to be a stereotypical failed author with delusions if grandeur, but there is a lot more to Keith Mabbut than that - despite a shaky start he is actually a very well rounded and believable
...more
Liz
I really enjoyed this read. I would call it a gentle adventure within a person and into the conflict of human needs and corporate greeds. I liked many things about this book, one of which was that I felt like if I met the main character (Keith), I might actually like him. It annoys me when I read a book about a character I would not like to know. I liked that people had foibles and quirks. The details of this book are enchanting, easy to visualize each step along the way. I appreciated the depth ...more
Grant Fletcher
I'm not really sure how i felt about this book!?! I liked it, but i also found myself struggling to get invested. First of all, it took me a long time to finish it as i lost interest two times during the read. The plot, while interesting, was slow. The writing was sometimes good and other times very plain. I found myself waiting for the point in the book that made 'not want to put it down' but it just never really came. There were times when the characters started to really get interesting only ...more
Taryn
I wanted to love this book so badly, but in the end i found it underwhelming. It's neatly written but i just found the plot and the characters lacklustre. I'm sorry Mr Palin, I'm so sorry.
Tracy Terry
Presuming he had drawn on his experience as a travel writer and television presenter I would have thought The Truth would have a great sense of people and place about it, that Michael Palin would have done just as good a job telling us as his TV persona does showing us. Alas not so, I'm afraid I found both the plot and characters weak.

Sadly not at all to my taste. With too many threads (battling big business, the publishing industry, being middle aged, etc, etc), none of them really going away,
...more
Karen
I would have rated this a 4 until the final revelation at the end, which was both contrived and a letdown. But still an enjoyable read.
Mark
To be honest, the main reason I did not score this novel 2 stars was Michael Palin: he’s such a nice bloke…
Moreover, the guy can write, I like his style – unobtrusive, effective. Plus, he tackles quite a few interesting subjects here: the destruction of ecosystems by multinationals, the perfidy of publishers, the vicissitudes of age & love…
Alas, the truth is that for me ‘The Truth’ was, in the end, a disappointment, because these topics are treated quite superficially, and, maybe most damni
...more
Thomas Simpson
Not nearly as enjoyable a read as Hemingway's Chair. It's a more serious story dealing with issues that largely have to do with midlife crises. It's hard to tell if Palin is being genuine with some of the serious issues or if there was more humor that I missed out on; regardless, the drama could be a tad bit...cliché at times. It's not terrible. Certainly well written and a reflection of Palin's own globe-trotting these past few decades (having watched his travel programs, I could point out mome ...more
Daniel
Pearl was born in June and married exactly twenty years later. On the eve of her wedding, Pearl, quite a catch a certainly a treasure, was laughing and laughing because of several noted correlations: Pearls are associated with innocence and modesty and pearls are also traditionally considered appropriate jewelry for debutantes and brides and because the pearl is the birthstone for the month of June.

Pearl married Jackpot, a man whom she had coined 'her own personal treasure trove.' Jackpot was ce
...more
Jasper
Ik was nooit echt een groot fan van Michael Palin, noch van zijn tv-werk, noch van zijn boeken. Dat is nu wel even anders.
Toen ik met Kerstmis ‘De Waarheid’ onder onze boom vond, was het aanvankelijk niet eenvoudig om enthousiast over te komen. Maar ik speelde het vlekkeloos en onder de ogen van mijn gulle schenker begon ik ijverig, volhardend in mijn gespeelde enthousiasme, de eerste paar bladzijden te lezen. Ik was er meteen mee weg en wilde het liefst van al blijven lezen, maar al gauw werd d
...more
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Michael Edward Palin, CBE, is an English comedian, actor, writer and television presenter best known for being one of the members of the comedy group Monty Python and for his travel documentaries.

Palin wrote most of his material with Terry Jones. Before Monty Python, they had worked on other shows such as The Ken Dodd Show, The Frost Report and Do Not Adjust Your Set. Palin appeared in some of the
...more
More about Michael Palin...
Around the World in 80 Days: Companion to the Pbs Series (Best of the BBC) Himalaya Diaries: The Python Years, 1969-1979 (Palin Diaries, #1) Full Circle Pole to Pole

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