The White Lie

The White Lie

3.2 (759 ratings by Goodreads)
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On a hot summer's afternoon, Ursula Salter runs sobbing from the loch on her parents' Scottish estate and confesses, distraught, that she has killed Michael, her 19-year old-nephew. But what really happened? No body can be found, and Ursula's story is full of contradictions. In order to protect her, the Salters come up with another version of events, a decision that some of them will come to regret. Years later, at a family gathering, a witness speaks up and the web of deceit begins to unravel. What is the white lie? Only one person knows the whole truth. Narrating from beyond the grave, Michael takes us to key moments in the past, looping back and back until - finally - we see what he sees.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 576 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 35mm | 436g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1780720904
  • 9781780720906
  • 289,084

Review quote

"Gillies writes magnificently on everything she touches." Sunday Times "Absolutely searing... we have a major new talent in our midst." Daily Express "Gillies' beautifully crafted debut combines page-turning aplomb with psychological insight... She is a tantalising storyteller, dropping in clues, vertiginous surprises and unexpected revelations." Marie Claire 'One hot summer day, Michael Salter, 19-year-old scion of a posh Highland family, disappears. When his childlike aunt claims she drowned him during a fight, the family close ranks. No police. No memorial service. No titbits for village gossips. A decade of deceit begins. Narrated by Michael from beyond the grave, Andrea Gillies' debut novel unpicks the mesh of lies, some white, some not, that entangle the Salters, bringing the closed world of the big house to life with cinematic clarity. A gripping exploration of the stories families tell about themselves, myths sometimes more potent than the truth." Financial Times "Fizzing with energy, suspense and tense dialogue, this is an elegantly brilliant novel." Red "There's an echo of Virginia Woolf that lifts Gillies' work above the average family drama... This is an unusual, unsettling, often lovely story that plumbs the depths of what family means." The Scotsman "The White Lie is a story of decline, of a crumbling hierarchy taking desperate measures to save face before the hordes sweep them away. This is a page-turner. It is also, finally, very moving." Guardian "Gillies excels in her portrait of a landscape that consumes the merely human; eats it for lunch, as it were, and has slowly, over many generations, created a family in its own image." Helen Dunmore, The Times "A really terrific read... Elegant, well written, genuinely gripping." Joanne Harris 'A wonderfully compelling portrait of a family haunted by secrets and lies... pitch perfect on the chilling, devastating consequences of guilt.' Sally Brampton
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About Andrea Gillies

Andrea Gillies has had a diverse career encompassing writing, publicity work, the editorship of the Good Beer Guide, travel and reference book editing, and writing a drinks column for Scotland on Sunday newspaper. Her first book, Keeper, won the Orwell Prize and the Wellcome Trust Book Prize. This is her first novel.
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Rating details

759 ratings
3.2 out of 5 stars
5 16% (119)
4 26% (196)
3 33% (248)
2 15% (117)
1 10% (79)
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