A True Story Based on Lies by Jennifer Clement

About the book

A True Story Based on Lies is a remarkable and original novel that addresses the universal issues of class discrimination, male oppression, and female servitude through dual narratives of spellbinding power. Set in contemporary Mexico, the book charts the consequences of a sexual relationship between Leonora, a servant in the wealthy O’Connor home, and her master. When a child, Aura Olivia, is born from this union she is brought up as the daughter of the house. As the novel unfolds, the “true” story gradually emerges.

Reviewed by Merdon Mums Reading Group:

We didn’t completely understand the poetry. Lacking in emotional details about the characters or background to the characters. Was it set in this century? We were unsure of the time period. We all enjoyed the unusual style of writing.

Star rating: ***

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9 thoughts on “A True Story Based on Lies by Jennifer Clement”

  1. Review by anon:
    It is said there is a book inside everyone and after reading this that is probably correct. It is a simple, lightweight and easy to read narrative of the age -old story of a master and his servant. The servant cannot win whatever she does -submit or refuse his amorous advances. The book was so much like A Girl with a Pearl Earring that every time the word TV appeared my mind came crashing back to modern time. The Indian rituals and legends were intriguing but much of the poetic writings were mainly lost on me.

  2. Review by North Baddesley W.I Reading Group :
    Despite the foreword that “it is a remarkable and original novel ” I would describe it as anything but. Having said that, I quite enjoyed it.
    Rating: **

  3. Review by Bridewell Beauties reading group:
    Unusual in presentation – original style and structure. Effective, poetic language.
    Star rating: ***

  4. Review by The Young Group Reading Group:
    The 1 star rating was for 5 members and 2 star rating for 3 members. Not really interesting or stimulating.
    Rating: *

  5. Review by BBC Reading Group:
    The group had a mixed opinion about the style of using verse and of Josefa’s one word comments. We found it an interesting aspect that the story was set in a timeless actual environment and the info about how they lived. A lovely, delightful, sad story.
    Star rating: ***

  6. Review by Museum Book Group:
    The whole group found this a surprisingly enjoyable read. We enjoyed the straightforward storyline (no sub plots) and the poetry. Well drawn characters with sharp contrasts in their lives and involvement with each other. The poetry rather than the prose gave us the feel of Mexico and its Indian population.
    Star rating: ***
    Reading Group:

  7. Review by Cheerful Bags Reading Group:
    Very mixed reviews on this one, from cleverly written and a lovely story to the. fact it wasn’t a very good read.
    Star rating: **

  8. Review by Wednesday Reading Group:
    Mixed reviews from the group. Most rated it a 2. Found it sad, poetic, irritating. The end was considered to be predictable by some and totally unexpected by others. A ‘quick’ read but gave us a lot to discuss and think about.
    Star rating: **

  9. Review by New Forest/Waterside U3A Reading Group:
    An excitingly crafted novel, beautifully written which gave us plenty to discuss. We were faced with problems social, sexual, moral and psychological, with considerable differences of opinion. We would recommend that this short novel be read twice with a reasonable gap between the readings.
    Star rating: ****

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