Twenty-Six Lies/One Truth - Ben Peek
Wheatland Press, 2006
Reviewed by Russell B. Farr
This book bills itself as an “autobiography of a man who has been nowhere, done nothing and met nobody”, and with such a low peak to aspire to, accomplishes this. It consists of a number of short pieces, sometimes arbitrarily grouped around the alphabet, that overall form several plot lines. Thrown into the mix are examples of literary fraud.
The strength of the work lies in using the structure to create little moments of suspense while telling essentially uninteresting tales. This ends up being a bit like being fed day-old white bread a piece at a time when you’re not sure if you feel hungry or not.
Twenty six lies/one truth didn’t set my imagination racing, nor force me to get my brain out of first gear. It’s a competent book by a competent writer, but I get the impression it has been written entirely for the author’s own enjoyment.
Wheatland Press have a number of excellent, essential titles in their catalogue, but this isn’t one of them.
--though I suppose calling it a review might be a little kind.
Years ago, if I remember right, Ben Payne told me of a conversation he had with Farr, deep in the days when the Australian Spec Fic Scene used to get in an uproar every time I said anything slightly critical about their work, or their awards, or perhaps even the socks they wore. Anyhow, Payne said that Farr planned to write a scathing review of 26Lies, to let loose on it--it's been a while, so I'm not real sure on the details now, but at any rate, here it is, that piece of venom building in the back of Russell B. Farr's throat since 2006.
*Gently pats Russell on the head*