Lie With Me
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Lie With Me : 'Stunning and heart-gripping' Andre Aciman

4.27 (2,884 ratings by Goodreads)
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THE NO.1 FRENCH BESTSELLER AND WINNER OF THE MAISON DE LA PRESSE PRIZE

'Stunning and heart-gripping' Andre Aciman, author of Call Me by Your Name

'A beautiful, shattering novel about desire and shame, about passionate youth and the regrets of age' Olivia Laing, bestselling author of Crudo

Just outside a hotel in Bordeaux, Philippe, a famous writer, chances upon a young man who bears a striking resemblance to his first love. What follows is a look back to Philippe's teenage years, to a winter morning in 1984, a small French high school, and a carefully timed encounter between two seventeen-year-olds. It's the start of a secret, intensely passionate, world-altering love affair between Philippe and his classmate, Thomas.

Dazzlingly rendered by Molly Ringwald, the acclaimed actor and writer, in her first-ever translation, Besson's exquisitely moving coming-of-age story captures the tenderness of first love - and the heart-breaking passage of time.

'It has been years since anything moved me as much as Lie With Me. It will become a classic.' Jonathan Coe, bestselling author of Middle England

'An intense, unforgettable novel, alive with the ache of longing and loss.' Sarah Waters, bestselling, award-winning author of The Little Stranger and Fingersmith

'Devastating and tender; this is the book I wish I'd read when I was 15, and a book I'm glad to have as a companion now' Andrew McMillan, award-winning author of Physical

'A deeply moving depiction of first love, both tender and elegiac.' John Boyne, bestselling author of A Ladder to the Sky and The Heart's Invisible Furies

'A slender, sad, acute novel... absolutely excellent' Sarah Perry, bestselling author of The Essex Serpent and Melmoth

'A tender, sensuous novel' New York Times Book Review

'Full of Proustian echoes, this story of gay adolescence deals with complex issues of class, shame and secrecy' Guardian

'A poignant tale that captures the intensity of first love with all its sadness, longing and regret' Daily Mail

'This novel can be read in a matter of hours, but its impact, like the love affair it details, will echo in the mind' Irish Times
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Product details

  • Paperback | 160 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 9mm | 133g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0241987091
  • 9780241987094
  • 4,399

Review quote

Moving, intense, sad and sensuous * Attitude * A clear-sighted and passionate coming-of-age narrative. Detailing in elegant and plain prose the anxious and intense first falling-in-love between two schoolboys, Lie With Me has a tenderness and insight that is reminiscent of the writings of Garth Greenwell. This novel can be read in a matter of hours, but its impact, like the love affair it details, will echo in the mind * Irish Times * A poignant tale that captures the intensity of first love with all its sadness, longing and regret * Daily Mail * Full of Proustian echoes, this story of gay adolescence deals with complex issues of class, shame and secrecy * Guardian * A slender, sad, acute novel... absolutely excellent -- Sarah Perry, bestselling author of THE ESSEX SERPENT and MELMOTH A story of queer adolescence in rural France in the 1980s, Besson's "Lie With Me" is a primer on the tenacity of desire... Molly Ringwald, by delightful coincidence an icon of '80s John Hughes films, provides a limpid translation that preserves all the earnest mystery of teenage sex... Besson keeps his study in intimacy fresh through nimble plot twists, in which the present disturbs a certain version of the past, creating repercussions for the future. Equal parts Andre Aciman and Marguerite Duras, "Lie With Me" poignantly reflects on why some memories fade and others do not. * New York Times * This Year's Call Me by Your Name... While the starring peach of Call Me by Your Name was the perfect metanym for that lush and gauzy tale, Lie With Me unpeels like a springy orange. The boys' relationship is bare but segmented, each encounter entirely isolated from the others, with only a thin membrane to keep all that tart juice from bursting out. . . [A] moving and graceful novel * Vulture * Besson is a thoughtful writer who can strike home with vivid imagery. . . [and] deftly translated [by Ringwald]. * Booklist * Universally touching * Le Parisien * Moving ... Besson's writing and Ringwald's smooth translation provide emotional impact. * Publishers Weekly * There's much book-to-filmstar appeal in this moving, well-plotted tale: Elle dubbed it "the French Brokeback Mountain"; there's something of Call Me by Your Name's Elio in Philippe, who lives in the books he reads and writes; and actress and writer Ringwald ably translates. * Booklist * Molly Ringwald translated this French Call Me By Your Name-esque novel about two teenagers in 1984 Bordeaux as they fall in love in the shadows, leaving one of them to reflect on the relationship many years later * OprahMag.com, 30 of the Best LGBTQ Books in 2019 * A man looks back at his first love, a forbidden homosexual affair during his last year of high school in a small French town in the 1980s. Though a screenwriter and playwright, Mr. Besson does not rely on direct dialogue but reconstructs conversations from a fog of memories in this coming-of-age story. A French best seller likened to "Call Me By Your Name" and "Brokeback Mountain," the novel marks the first English translation by the actress and writer Ms. Ringwald, a longtime Francophile. * Wall Street Journal, The 10 Books You'll Want to Read This Spring * The French Brokeback Mountain * Elle * In spare yet evocative prose, elegantly translated by Molly Ringwald, Philippe Besson relates the erotic awakening of two adolescent boys in a small French town in the 1980s. Lie With Me captures their world with the grainy poignancy of an old high school yearbook, while movingly conveying the quintessential human dramas of longing, love, and letting go. -- Caroline Weber, author of 'Proust's Duchess: How Three Celebrated Women Captured the Imagination of Fin-de-siecle Paris' At first erotic and joyous, ultimately elegiac and haunting, Lie With Me is a deceptively slender book as big as life itself -- Rumaan Alam, author of 'That Kind of Mother' and 'Rich and Pretty' A bittersweet love story, told from the perspective of a gay man remembering his first romantic affair as a teenager in a small town in the south of France in 1984. * Wall Street Journal * This is a gorgeous fever dream of a book. Ringwald's translation does elegant justice to Besson's balance of beauty and despair, and to his interrogations of memory and longing. Lie With Me positively glows in the dark. -- Rebecca Makkai, author of 'The Great Believers' This gorgeous, aching novel captures all of the fear and freedom of young desire. . . may well be the best gay love story in contemporary fiction. I dare you to read it without crying. -- Christopher Bollen, author of 'The Destroyers' A lovely novel, a painful story of love and loss. . . Lie with Me succeeds as a novel because of Besson's graceful writing, beautifully translated by Ringwald. Besson is a gifted stylist, and he infuses Philippe's story with the right notes of sadness and longing. * NPR * Devastating and tender; this is the book I wish I'd read when I was 15, and a book I'm glad to have as a companion now -- Andrew McMillan, award-winning author of 'Physical' Lie With Me is an exquisite whisper that lingers long after you've finished reading it -- Kevin Kwan, author of 'Crazy Rich Asians' An elegiac tale of first, hidden love between two teenage boys who have no chance of a shared future, "Lie with Me" sold more than a hundred thousand copies in France, where it won several prizes and is being made into a movie. -- Lauren Collins * New Yorker * The uncanny thrill of Philippe Besson's Lie With Me rises up from Molly Ringwald's elegant translation with the intensity of meeting a stranger on a train who tells you a single unforgettable story and then leaves. And his voice haunts me still -- Alexander Chee, author of 'How to Write an Autobiographical Novel' and 'The Queen of the Night' A timeless love story. Molly Ringwald's translation is as clear and beautiful as the story it depicts. You'll read it in a night, but its exquisite heartbreak will linger. -- David Ebershoff, author of 'The Danish Girl' A deeply moving depiction of first love, both tender and elegiac. -- John Boyne, bestselling author of 'A Ladder to the Sky' It has been years since anything moved me as much as Lie With Me. It will become a classic -- Jonathan Coe, bestselling author of 'Middle England' An intense, unforgettable novel, alive with the ache of longing and loss. -- Sarah Waters, bestselling, award-winning author of 'The Little Stranger' A stunning and heart-gripping tale -- Andre Aciman, author of 'Call Me by Your Name' A beautiful, shattering novel about desire and shame, about passionate youth and the regrets of age. -- Olivia Laing, bestselling author of 'Crudo' and 'The Lonely City'
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About Philippe Besson

Philippe Besson is the author of a number of award-winning novels and screenplays. The French edition of Lie With Me sold over 120,000 copies, was a no.1 bestseller, and won the prestigious Maison de la Presse prize.

Molly Ringwald's writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Guardian, and Vogue, and she is the author of the bestselling novel-in-stories When It Happens to You.
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Rating details

2,884 ratings
4.27 out of 5 stars
5 47% (1,353)
4 37% (1,070)
3 13% (373)
2 3% (75)
1 0% (13)
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