A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself

A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself

By Peter Ho Davies
240 pages
January 2021

A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself traces the complex consequences of one of the most personal yet public, intimate yet political experiences a family can have: to have a child, and conversely, the decision not to have a child. A first pregnancy is interrupted by test results at once catastrophic and uncertain. A second pregnancy ends in a fraught birth, a beloved child, the purgatory of further tests—and questions that reverberate down the years.

This spare, graceful narrative chronicles the flux of parenthood, marriage, and the day-to-day practice of loving someone. As challenging as it is vulnerable, as furious as it is tender, as touching as it is darkly comic, Peter Ho Davies's new novel is an unprecedented depiction of fatherhood.

"Wise, bracingly honest...A reassuring reality check...Davies throws some new ingredients into the family casserole...Nameless characters can come across as coy, but here, anonymity adds a layer of intimacy. Davies’s characters could be anyone, even you...The all-access pass is exhilarating...The family does not live happily ever after. Instead, they find their footing in ritual and routine, in peaceful and predictable exhaustion, in the hardiest kind of love."
Elisabeth Egan, New York Times Book Review

"Davies treats twists of fate with clear-eyed realism, humor, and grace."
The New Yorker

"There is nothing superfluous in these pages, and yet Davies, whose characters’ humor carries the reader through considerable agony, allows cheerfully for life’s banality...A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself is 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."
Claire Messud, Harper's

"[A] powerful account of fatherhood...At times, Davies’s autofiction has the easy cadence of a stand-up set...But this is 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."

"[Davies'] 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."

"Ambitious…Davies’s bold tell-all policy makes for moving and compelling reading…A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself is…admirable for the brave new things it has to say about shame, regret, fatherhood and love."
Sunday Times