Everything You Know

Everything You Know

3.18 (742 ratings by Goodreads)
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Willy Muller has survived imprisonment for murdering his wife, the suicide of his daughter Sadie and, most recently, a heart attack. While recuperating he finds himself drawn into the lonely world of her diaries and is reluctantly forced to confront the troubling secrets that lie buried in his past.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 208 pages
  • 126 x 196 x 18mm | 140.62g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 0140282076
  • 9780140282078
  • 908,656

Review Text

Heller's first is a smart take on hoary subjects - Jewish deracination, the moral vileness of Hollywood - that nevertheless offers real pleasures and marks the writer as one to watch. Willy Muller has a lot on his plate, but all of it is bitter food. He was a journalist on British television until something ghastly happened back in 1971: his alcoholic and fiercely unhappy wife, in a drunken argument, slipped, hit her head on the fridge, and died. Thus Willy was not only left with his two young daughters, Sophie and Sadie, but his TV career ended fast when the tabloids exploited him as a wife murderer who got off easy. Things were made no better - except financially - when Willy published a hugely successful memoir (To Have and to Hold) revealing everything about his marriage but exonerating himself. Was it honest? Well, ten years later Sophie's confusion, doubt, and rage about her father have driven her to sex, drugs, and a miserably shabby marriage, while the younger Sadie, though not married, has had a baby of her own - and has just committed suicide. Imagine the torment Willy goes through (he now lives in L.A.) as he reads through Sadie's journals, wrestles with his guilt, and tries to make a grotesquely distorted screenplay of To Have and to Hold for the sleazy movie moguls who see a sure killing in it. Toss in a heart attack, an attempt to quit smoking, plenty of troubles on the sexual front, and a trip to Mexico to "write" that brings Willy face to face with the rich, glib, hyper-Teutonic Hans Stempel, director-to-be of the new movie - and one of the catalysts that suddenly turns the half-Jewish Willy completely around and sends him back to England to try - one way or another - to do things over again. Willy's caustic, witty voice (cockroaches walk around "like ambulatory patent leather handbags") keeps his mournful tale sturdily on course and safely protected from the maudlin. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Author information

Zoe Heller came to the public's attention with her regular column in The Sunday Times. She is now a high-profile features writer and regular contributor to a number of magazines and newspapers. She lives in New York. EVERYTHING YOU KNOW is her first novel.show more

Rating details

742 ratings
3.18 out of 5 stars
5 8% (59)
4 29% (215)
3 42% (309)
2 16% (121)
1 5% (38)
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