Nietzsche once wrote “Truths are illusions which we have forgotten are illusions,” explaining without a trace of judgment how humans became animals who thrive on lies. Amy Impellizzeri has accomplished a similar feat, using fiction this time. In her latest novel, Why We Lie (Wyatt-MacKenzie) Impellizzeri demonstrates just how much lies become us, in every sense of the phrase.
At the beginning of the novel, the hero, Aby Boyle, receives terrible news. It has been three months since her husband, Jude Birch, a United States congressman, was shot in the head and survived. Three months since the surgery that saved his life. And now, she and Jude have learned that his brain has healed in such a way that he has lost the ability to lie.
Such a premise could be humorous—indeed it has been, in Hollywood—if this were a story about Jude’s future as a politician. But it isn’t. It’s a story about Aby’s past, a story that is far more interesting.
After that fateful doctor visit, we learn of how Jude and Aby first met, a meet-cute so adorable, it seems meant-to-be. We learn about Jude’s fast rise in popularity as a politician, and Aby’s similarly fast career trajectory as a fundraiser for a D.C. foundation. We learn about D.C. power players and insiders. And we learn, pretty quickly, that Jude’s attack might not have been, as everyone seems to think, a gang-related drive-by gone wrong.
Why We Lie pulls threads from Aby’s recent past, distant past, and childhood, weaving them so quickly that readers will have trouble putting down the book. And yet these threads—so many, spinning so fast—never tangle, never confuse the reader with too many characters, too many storylines. Every switch gets flipped. Every knot gets tied. This is the Washington, D.C., political thriller that you’ve been waiting for.
More important than the graceful structure of the book, though, are the questions it raises about lies, and relationships, and intent. The most remarkable aspect of Why We Lie is how present it is: it starts in April 2019, one month after its publication date. Donald Trump is president. The #metoo movement is in full swing. And throughout the novel, strong echoes from real life will pierce you, forcing you to reckon with what is real and what is fiction.
Meanwhile, the story races along, clinging to the cape of my favorite kind of hero: one who is imperfect but whose imperfections are the very reason to love her, one who dares you to judge her harshly for the choices she’s made, lest you have to walk her path. Aby Boyle is a perfectly flawed hero you will cheer for. After all, if truths are merely the lies that we have agreed to ignore, Why We Lie forces us to examine with what we’ve agreed to—have we made a devil’s bargain by keeping certain things in the dark?
Why We Lie is now available for purchase.
About Amy Impellizzeri
Amy is a reformed corporate litigator, former start-up executive, and award-winning author of fiction and non-fiction. Amy’s first novel, Lemongrass Hope, was a 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Bronze winner (Romance) and a National Indie Excellence Awards Finalist. A favorite with bloggers and book clubs, Lemongrass Hope was named the #1 reviewed book in 2014 by blogger, The Literary Connoisseur.
Amy is also the author of the non-fiction book, Lawyer Interrupted, (featured by ABC27, Above the Law and more), and numerous essays and articles that have appeared in online and print journals including: Writer’s Digest, The Huffington Post, ABA Law Practice Today, The Glass Hammer, Divine Caroline, Skirt! Magazine, and more. She is a past President of the Women’s Fiction Writer’s Association, a 2018 Writer-In-Residence at Ms-JD.org, and a frequently invited speaker at legal conferences and writing workshops across the country.
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