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The First True Lie: A Novel
(Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read)

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Published:
Random House Publishing Group 2014
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Description
An utterly compelling, heartbreaking novel that introduces a revelatory young voice to the U.S. market.

Meet Luca, a curious young boy living with his mother, a taciturn woman who every now and then tries out a new father. Luca keeps to himself, his cat, Blue, and his favorite toys—words. One February morning his mom doesn't wake up to bring him to school, so Luca—driven by a deep fear of being an orphan—decides to pretend to the world that his mom is still alive. At first it's easy. Luca dresses himself for school, makes sure Blue gets his dinner, and manages to avoid nosy neighbors. He and Blue camp out in the living room and embark on imaginary expeditions to outer space, and Luca dreams about marrying his school crush, Antonella. Soon, however, the laundry starts piling up, the fridge emptying—and the smell of Mama's decaying body begins to permate the apartment.
As Luca grapples with what to do, we ultimately witness something much more poignant than the morbid circumstance—a young boy's journey to the point at which he can say: “I am no longer an orphan. I am a single human being. It's a matter of words.”
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Street Date:
01/21/2014
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780770436865
ASIN:
B00E736HCQ
Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Marina Mander. (2014). The First True Lie: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Marina Mander. 2014. The First True Lie: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Marina Mander, The First True Lie: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group, 2014.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Marina Mander. The First True Lie: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group, 2014.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Anne Arundel County Public Library11
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Grouped Work ID:
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Needs Update?:
No
Date Added:
Jun 03, 2017 05:58:29
Date Updated:
Dec 06, 2020 04:24:24
Last Metadata Check:
Feb 05, 2023 05:42:44
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Feb 05, 2023 05:42:44
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Feb 05, 2023 05:42:46
Last Availability Change:
Jun 17, 2020 22:54:39
Last Grouped Work Modification Time:
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      • bioText: MARINA MANDER is the author of Manuale di Ipocondria Fantastica (A Fantastical Manual of Hypochondria, 2000), Catalogo degli Addii (A Catalogue of Goodbyes, 2010) and Nessundorma, 2013. This is her first U.S. publication. She lives in Milan and works in publishing.
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title
The First True Lie
fullDescription
An utterly compelling, heartbreaking novel that introduces a revelatory young voice to the U.S. market.

Meet Luca, a curious young boy living with his mother, a taciturn woman who every now and then tries out a new father. Luca keeps to himself, his cat, Blue, and his favorite toys—words. One February morning his mom doesn't wake up to bring him to school, so Luca—driven by a deep fear of being an orphan—decides to pretend to the world that his mom is still alive. At first it's easy. Luca dresses himself for school, makes sure Blue gets his dinner, and manages to avoid nosy neighbors. He and Blue camp out in the living room and embark on imaginary expeditions to outer space, and Luca dreams about marrying his school crush, Antonella. Soon, however, the laundry starts piling up, the fridge emptying—and the smell of Mama's decaying body begins to permate the apartment.
As Luca grapples with what to do, we ultimately witness something much more poignant than the morbid circumstance—a young boy's journey to the point at which he can say: “I am no longer an orphan. I am a single human being. It's a matter of words.”
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Cosmopolitan
      • content: "If you liked Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, read The First True Lie, by Marina Mander. Mander's English-language debut has all of Foer's energy, despite a hard-to-stomach premise... As in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, the buoyancy of the child narrator's voice is ultimately an act of hope -- hope in the face of death, darkness, and trauma. "
      • premium: False
      • source: Herman Koch, author of the international bestseller The Dinner
      • content: "From page one I was with Luca, the adorable and witty young narrator of this brilliant and emotionally upsetting story. I lived in his words and in his head, and stayed there for a long time after I had finished the book."
      • premium: False
      • source: Publishers Weekly
      • content: "Mander's English-language debut is narrated by the ebullient Luca, whose voice is every bit as engaging as the best child narrators out there: imagine a blend of Oskar (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close), Blue (Special Topics in Calamity Physics), and Christopher Boone (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time). This slim novel smartly focuses on the cranks and gears of Luca's imagination....[A]t its best, Luca's original voice will break your heart. Ultimately, Luca's story offers a buoyant picture of hope in the face of disaster, and life in the face of death."
      • premium: False
      • source: Booklist
      • content: "Translated from the Italian in clear, lyrical prose, always true to the child's viewpoint, the blend of horror and innocence captures a universal nightmare....The terse survival drama of the child marooned alone, not in the wilderness but in the crowded city, will stir readers: Could it be happening on my street? How will it end?"
      • premium: False
      • source: Kirkus Reviews
      • content: "[An] elegantly carved look into the inner life of an orphaned child."
      • premium: False
      • source: La Republica
      • content: "Cruel, heart-wrenching, and surprising...As all great books do, this opens a window into a world. It will not be easy for you to close that window, nor to forget that world."
      • premium: False
      • source: Tiziano Scarpa
      • content: "A beautiful novel that tells a terrible story with brio and depth."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        October 7, 2013
        Mander’s English-language debut is narrated by the ebullient Luca, whose voice is every bit as engaging as the best child narrators out there: imagine a blend of Oskar (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close), Blue (Special Topics in Calamity Physics), and Christopher Boone (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time). This slim novel smartly focuses on the cranks and gears of Luca’s imagination. The child—who lives alone with his depressed mother and his “amazing” cat, Blue—is hiding a terrible secret: his mother won’t wake up. Luca’s fear of being an orphan is greater than his fear of living with his mother’s dead body, even as it decomposes. This decomposition also kick-starts the meandering plot, and keeps it from straying too far into the weeds of poetic, childlike free association. Luca’s choices can be unbelievable, and, as the book progresses, hard to stomach, but his whimsical take on the world will keep the pages turning. At its worst, the contrast between verbal whimsy and the blunt facts of the dead mother in the other room feels hyperliterary, like a writing prompt taken too far. But at its best, Luca’s original voice will break your heart. Ultimately, Luca’s story offers a buoyant picture of hope in the face of disaster, and life in the face of death.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        November 1, 2013
        A slim but elegantly carved look into the inner life of an orphaned child. An abrupt and ambiguous ending dents but fails to spoil this experimental novella by Italian writer Mander (A Catalogue of Goodbyes, 2010, etc.). The story is narrated by Luca, a young boy of indeterminate age who is forced to grow up in a matter of weeks. He's smart enough to know that the string of "fathers" that his mama trots through the house are only there for sex, and he's thoughtful about things, if a fair bit foulmouthed in the vein of Holden Caulfield. However, he isn't smart enough to know what to do when his mother dies in the middle of the night at the age of 36. In his traumatized imagination, he can't decide if his mother is an angel or will become a zombie or will rise in three days like Jesus Christ. Instead of letting an adult know, Luca leaves her dead body in bed and starts foraging for himself and his cat, Blue. Mander captures the childlike attitude and voice very well, as Luca struggles to make sense of what has transpired. "You put things in a row and make a story of it," Luca says. "Stories put things in their places. Then you're more relaxed. The stories you invent are your personal lullabies. Even when they're horrible, they don't scare you anymore because you're the one who invented them. That's what this is too. This story is only a secret I told myself to see if I'm able to keep a really secret secret." His motivations and actions are easy to understand from the start; when Luca refers to himself as a "half-orphan," it's clear that he is not only close to his mother, but terrified of being left alone. An interesting protagonist makes this worth a look, but the novel doesn't so much end as stop.

        COPYRIGHT(2013) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        Starred review from April 15, 2014
        According to young Luca, who narrates this U.S. debut from Italian author Mander, humans are separated from other mammals by the ability to lie. Luca's "first true lie" is hiding the death of his melancholy mother in their apartment. She went to sleep one evening in a haze of pills and never woke up, though Luca tried and tried to rouse her, at one point even putting some lipstick on her. Having an absent father--his mother often "tried out" other fathers, then let them go--Luca sees himself as "a coat with just one sleeve." By the end of this short novel, Luca realizes that he is now a coat with no sleeves, just stumps. Still, he survives. VERDICT Exploring men, women, and marriage, loneliness and Luca's friendships with his classmates and his cat, Blue, Mander does an exceptional job of portraying Luca, showing an uncommon depth and knowledge of a young boy's thoughts. This carefully crafted work would be a wonderful choice for a book discussion group. [See Prepub Alert, 7/22/13.]--Lisa Rohrbaugh, Leetonia Community P.L., OH

        Copyright 2014 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        November 1, 2013
        When his reclusive single-parent mother suddenly dies in her bed, young Luca dreads change, especially the possibility that he will land in an orphanage, so he keeps his mother's death a secret, goes to school, uses her cash card, and cares for his beloved cat, even as the rotting corpse swells up in the one-bedroom apartment on the eighth floor of their city building, and the stench begins to reach beyond the locked bedroom door. Translated from the Italian in clear, lyrical prose, always true to the child's viewpoint, the blend of horror and innocence captures a universal nightmare, as Luca dresses up as a normal little boy, tries to make do, talks to his mother and himself, listens to the silence, gets through a visit from a friend, and wards off the neighbors. The terse survival drama of the child marooned alone, not in the wilderness but in the crowded city, will stir readers: Could it be happening on my street? How will it end?(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2013, American Library Association.)

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An utterly compelling, heartbreaking novel that introduces a revelatory young voice to the U.S. market.

Meet Luca, a curious young boy living with his mother, a taciturn woman who every now and then tries out a new father. Luca keeps to himself, his cat, Blue, and his favorite toys—words. One February morning his mom doesn't wake up to bring him to school, so Luca—driven by a deep fear of being an orphan—decides to pretend to the world that his mom is still alive. At first it's easy. Luca dresses himself for school, makes sure Blue gets his dinner, and manages to avoid nosy neighbors. He and Blue camp out in the living room and embark on imaginary expeditions to outer space, and Luca dreams about marrying his school crush, Antonella. Soon, however, the laundry starts piling up, the fridge emptying—and the smell of Mama's decaying body begins to permate the apartment.
As Luca grapples with what to do, we ultimately witness something...
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