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Sarah Penny: Lies We Shared

Wednesday, April 20th 2011 at 5:30 PM

2004. London. When Rebecca Falconer’s mother dies she has no idea that this event will be the start of a journey that will lead her all the way back into her parents’ past – to the Kenya of the 1960s. Growing up in Rhodesia and then Zimbabwe, Rebecca’s world was her family and their farm, but how much of this world did she really know? Years later, as she tries to put her mother’s affairs in order (now in England), a disturbing truth comes to light that will lead her to question the very foundations of her family’s history and force her to confront the modern reality of the country that her mother once called home.

As Rebecca Falconer unpicks her conflicted past she is brought face to face with the lies both of her parents have been telling her for her whole life. What can she do with this information? How can she make right the wrongs of the past – wrongs that she never knew of? What is left when all the certainties of her life crumble away? In the end this wise novel teaches us that the past can only ever be what it is – the past – and that the future is ours to embrace if we are brave enough to step outside what we think we know.

A superb story, beautifully and compellingly told.

Sarah will be in Conversation with John Maytham.

Published by Penguin Books.