Twenty-Six Lies/One Truth is, as many of you operating on similar LJ friends-lists to me will be aware, is a short novel by Australian author Ben Peek, published by Wheatland Press. It's a sort of fictionalised autobiography, ordered like a mad dictionary and published in a large-but-thin format that's quite unusual for fiction to be published in. An unusual format for an unusual book, I suppose.
It's a book I find quite difficult to comment on, or sensibly review. It's one of those books where I can write that I sort-of liked it, and sort-of disliked it, and found portions that I loved and portions that simply left me cold. It's a very fragmented work, deliberately divided into short bits and pieces. There's even a sort of comic strip visual narrative sprinkled through the book for good measure. When reviewing it I find myself unable to call it a brilliant book, although there are certainly brilliant bits, and I am instead left to describe it as an interesting book, which is certainly is - through and through.
And I think this is important. I think it's great that there are novels being produced out there that aren't the same cookie-cutter narratives and formats that we're all well used to. More importantly, I think this kind of experimentation deserves support. You should get your hands on this book and have a look. Read the whole thing or just flick through to get a sense of it. I suspect one of the most appealling parts of Twenty Six Lies/One Truth to be is the potential for new works to be written in response. I want to see other authors take up some of the stylistic and structural ideas that Ben uses in his book and use them in their own. I want them to make some progress, add bits, change them and help develop new forms of literary narrative.
Ben's an amazing writer and the author of some fantastic short fiction. While I wasn't as enamoured with this novel as I was with that short work, it nonetheless adds another page to a growing tradition of experimentation and play in Ben's stuff. I think he's one of the most - possibly the most - inventive Australian genre author writing today.
Ben has a second novel, Black Sheep, out soon. I'm keen to read that to see what sort of things he's tried there.
Show the love.
Buy it from Amazon, buy it from Wheatland Press.