Today in January Magazine’s fiction section, contributing editor Diane Leach reviews The Lie by Fredrica Wagman. Says Leach:
The Lie opens with 17-year-old Ramona Smollens sitting on a park bench, smoking. Her father, the monstrous Nathan Smollens, has been dead exactly one week.The full review is here.
Ramona is joined by Solomon Columbus, an older man who offers her another cigarette. The two begin talking, with Ramona mesmerized by Columbus’s thick peasant hands, culminating in ten “astonishing penis fingers.” Their conversation continues even as the withering August heat gives way to a torrential rainstorm. The couple talk and smoke through the pelting rain, finally returning to the house where Ramona now lives with her mother, the self-absorbed, obnoxiously rude Trixie. The couple brush off her jeering welcome, working their way to the attic, where they spend four days making love and exchanging confidences.
Written in broken, elliptical prose, bristling with bold print and exclamatory remarks, The Lie is reminiscent of Joyce Carol Oates’s more incantatory, dark works.