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All the Beautiful Liars

4.52  ·  Rating details ·  27 ratings  ·  24 reviews
The fictional memoir of Katrina Klain

How true are the family histories that tell us who we are and where we come from? Who knows how much all the beautiful liars have embargoed or embellished the truth?

During a long flight from Europe to Sydney to bury her mother, Australian expat Katrina Klain reviews the fading narrative of her family and her long quest to understand her
Published March 16th 2020 by Lightning Books
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Average rating 4.52  · 
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Billy O'Callaghan
Aug 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Straddling the line between memoir and fiction, All The Beautiful Liars is a stylistically daring, hurricane-paced and genuinely impressive feat of the imagination. Sylvia Petter, a gifted writer, not only displays a rare mastery of characterization but tells a gripping story. On a sentence level alone, this book is a joy, but what elevates it to rarefied levels is the magnitude of its courage. In its asking of such difficult and fundamentally human questions, and in so relentlessly facing the h ...more
Tim Ewins
Apr 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely superbly written, so different and so touching. I found myself looking forward to going to bed just so I could read the next few chapters!

I can’t wait to read her next!
Becca McCulloch
Mar 24, 2020 rated it liked it
The story of family secrets as deep and complex as history itself. Katrina becomes consumed with understanding her family’s story. Her travels reveal not only the convoluted ways we lie to protect ourselves and those we love, but also the way a family has maintained its position in society despite big cultural shifts in power and morality.

While I’m ambivalent about the structure of storytelling in this book, I found the overall story fascinating. My father lived in Germany in the late 1960s. He
This was a book written with a different narrative I easily got used to and could not put down. I was engrossed in this shocking story. Thought the memoir of expat Katrina Klain is fictional, the stories are eye opening and quite shocking.

I was fully engrossed in the story and spent an entire afternoon turning those pages. The characters as they were introduced brought their side of the story with each story a piece of a puzzle to complete her family's past. The story takes us all the way to Au
Donna Maguire

I thought that this was a well written story and it was one that had me really hooked. 

I read before I agreed to read and review the book that it was based on a fictional memoir and that really sparked my interest after reading the blurb.

I found that the story had a great flow to it and I did find myself flying through the pages and I started and finished the book in an afternoon.  The author did a really good job with the book and I would definitely look
Jane Hunt
Mar 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc-reviewed
An absorbing, addictive ancestry, which takes the reader across Europe, in troubled times, following Katrina's quest to discover her roots. The writing style is engaging, as each player, in the life drama, tells their side of the story, the atmosphere, characters and events of the time come to life.

The historical detail is fascinating, the visual imagery compelling, and the characters are complex. The structure of the story maintains its momentum and the ending has some final twists.

I received
Susan King
Mar 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Although fictional, I quickly found myself absorbed in Katrina's story, and the ending ... genius! ...more
Peter Stiles
Jun 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
I have given the book 4 stars. It is an excellent effort for a first full novel with good prose and story line. I felt that it could have been fleshed out a little – not padded as such – with greater development for some of the characters and settings. The panopticon (no spoilers – check the dictionary) provided a different phase rather than a first person aside. Jane’s character could have been expanded on her choice of personal preferences since she was a pivotal childhood close friend and obv ...more
Amb Tawfik
Nov 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing

A woman's quest for identity takes her on a journey across continents and generations

This fascinating novel - or fictional autobiography - takes you on a journey from Central Europe to Australia and back, and spans the twentieth century with all the sense of liberation that it brought to humanity and of course, the horrors. In one sense it is a family drama that doesn't hesitate to expose all, in another it is a conversation between different facets of the author's own soul. More importantly it
Bernhard Hemetsberger
Jun 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A curious and exciting travel through jumbled memories and fantasized connections, making sense of biographies facing a troubled period in Western history. 'All the Beautiful Liars' truly is a distorted mirror of post-war lives, shaped by silence, lies and excuses. An exceptional book and a must-read to deal with our tragic past. ...more
Meg Stewart
Sylvia’s Petter’s new book All the Beautiful Liars is a mosaic primarily made of a family memoir, with its mesh of relationships, past and present. There’s the unravelling of decades-old secrets from a Europe that includes Nazi Germany, paced like a thriller. But also, an engaging evocation of the nuances of reaching adulthood for young woman during the late 1960s, both in and out of Australia. The melding of these diverse elements ensures a compelling read, as well as closure for its protagonis ...more
Jun 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed the pace and the style of this book.
Nick Gerrard
Jun 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Sylvia Petter's writing of this book was inspired by her own life story. The story was so well written and creatively presented that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. This was fabulous and a book I highly recommend. ...more
Mar 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
I found the way the novel opens immensely interesting. Katrina Klain, the main character, finds herself in a sort of limbo where she revisits glimpses from her past by “clicking” through visuals on a screen. She considers herself Australian, but is confused about the truth of her background. She travels to Austria, Vienna–from where her parents had come to Australia–to uncover the mysteries her family has kept from her. What she discovers has her shaken her to the very core and she now sees hers ...more
Pat Jourdan
Apr 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This story moves rapidly; we are taken along a maze, to a surprising ending. The people are drawn with a deft touch - and what a cast list! At times the fact and the fiction intertwine so well that we are drawn further into the growing puzzle. (The piece of a jigsaw on the cover is a telling clue.)
A family that intersects with so many of the European conflicts and secrets of the World Wars puts a personal face on history. And Australia, as sanctuary, only delays various truths that the resour
Leelynn (Sometimes Leelynn Reads) ❤
Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources and Lightning Books for this free copy. All quotes in this review are taken from the Advanced Reader Copy and may change in final publication.

I feel like it’s really hard to review someone’s memoir or even give it some sort of rating. I feel this way because how can I even judge someone’s life based on the words that they chose to put down on pap
Mar 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, reviews
A fictional memoir and it isn't the first book in the genre that I have read, although I haven't read as many as other genres, nevertheless, it's always hard to review, because it's based on reality or truly describes the real events that happened in someone's life. That been said, when I first started reading, I know I had an emotional story in my hands.

Sylvia Petter took us on a journey that quite reminded me of listening to my grandparents telling me about their lives. I have always wanted to
Darcie Friesen
Oct 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Sylvia Petter's "All the Beautiful Liars" is exquisite. From beginning to end, for both its artistry and intrigue, I read in the tension of wanting to underline something on every page, while wishing to hide that function on my Reader. I met myself somewhere in the middle with lines like:

'I want to see how real people live,' I said to my godfather.

The man flicked ash from his black cigarette. 'We are the real people, Carl. We are the ones who can do things. That is why we are here. Never forget
Ivy Ngeow
Aug 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A highly-artistic fictionalised memoir of diverse postwar upbringing in Austria and Australia
This is an honest and historical family literary fiction of a childhood, and an escape into the past told through Katrina, the main character who has a close friend in the form of Jane. Sylvia Petter's language is the star. The prose is stunning, rhythmic and visceral. It will take you into the past in an emotional rollercoaster experience through characters which are real. I would have loved to have bee
Jan 19, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed the story and the writing style. Sylvia Petter portrays well how difficult it was and still is for families in Austria to talk about the past and come to terms to what happened during World War II.
Jo Ann
Feb 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
This original biography written as a fast paced mystery story tells it straight, starting with the title. All the Beautiful Liars is complex, sensual, mysterious and incomplete just like many real lives.
Neil McCarthy
Jan 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic story and brilliant storytelling -this book will resonate with anyone who has emigrated or had to emigrate, with anyone with wanderlust, but likewise with anyone who has an interest in history and what secrets delving into their family´s past might just unearth. Highly recommended.
Catherine McNamara
Jan 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
An original, moving and deft read. Fast-paced and intriguing, delving into history and the allegiances and the knottiness of families. A novel that lingers and stirs.
Jun 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I enjoy Sylvia Petter's style of writing: eclectic, whimsical and poignant. Knowing the author on a more personal level, All the Beautiful Liars was for me more of puzzle book. At times I was able to distinguish between memoire and fiction but other times, not. This feeling of unknown and what if?, peaked my curiosity and kept me wanting to read on. Sylvia Petter manages to engulf the reader into her story with her specific writing style, historical accuracy and detailed descriptions. I very muc ...more
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Writer of short and long, serious, sexy and fun. Australian in Austria, but all over the place in the space of a mind.

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