Chris's Reviews > Liar

Liar by Justine Larbalestier
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's review
Feb 02, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: dark, life, mystery, not-graphic, voice, ya

One of the best books I've read for those who enjoy a hearty, potentially contentious book discussion; one of the worst books I've read for those who don't care for ambiguity and frustration. Immediately upon finishing it I flipped back to the start and began rereading, until I'd completely skimmed through the whole book again. I've just browsed through the other Goodreads reviews here and disagreed with the conclusions reached by at least half of those marked as spoilers. I'm dying to delve into this book with others in an attempt to figure out the truth behind the lies--but at this point I'm feeling it's constructed so carefully it's possible to only have theories and opinions with no way of really knowing, regardless of how carefully we comb through the text for clues. It's brilliant that way.

And that paragraph was intentionally vague. I think the less you know about this book going into it, the better. Just know that the title is as apt a one as there is. Micah is a liar. That's the one and only thing I'm sure about at this point. She tells her story, then retells it, then revises it. She admits to lies and then admits the admission was a lie. She lies by omission. She takes the concept of unreliable narrator to new places. This book is a mystery; a murder mystery, an identity mystery, a plot mystery. It might be only a few small details are lies or it might be most of the book is a lie. I'm still not sure.

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Lindi Chris -- I'd be interested in talking about your conclusions, but I disagreed with most of them too!

message 4: by Chris (last edited Feb 03, 2010 04:08PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Chris ***SPOILERS***

Most of the spoilers are that Micah is a werewolf--which is a spoiler and should most definitely be left as a surprise if readers are to experience this book the way it was meant--but I think the true spoiler is that she's not a werewolf.

There are little hints and clues sprinkled throughout that didn't sit quite right--not enough so that I consciously noticed them on my first reading, but I was able to find them when I dug back through the book--but in the last few pages I felt she basically says the whole werewolf thing is a lie. I don't have the book in front of me, but there are references to things like living in a room with guards bringing her pills. At one point she says she hasn't quite descended into pathological lying because she doesn't really believe her lies, but at another point she says her motivation for lying is because she likes her version better than the truth. I think this is a psychological study of someone trying to cope with one insanity (homicidal fits/rages) by wishing she had another (delusional state that allows her to escape reality).

Lindi I agree. That's the way I read it too.

Quentin I took it that she wasn't a warewolf. I wanted it to end- Lie Number 12 (or whichever one she was on) - I killed everyone. hehe

Nicole I know this thread is old but I wanted to comment that I basically agree with your assessment Chris, I too noticed the comment about the prison guards which I took to be a flag. later she mentions something along the lines of 'it's cold and dark in here, no windows' with no explanation of where 'here' is but I assumed once again prison. then there's the choice in animal -- she is quite literally crying wolf and even alludes to it (sad to say until she used the phrase cry wolf I didn't even make the connection). anyway I thought it was really well written. part of me wishes for concrete answers but I completely understand why there aren't any and it's fun to discuss and mull over

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