Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Review: Home Truths

"Home truth" is an expression we don't use much in America, but it is a good one, meaning, according to the OED, "a wounding mention of a person's weakness."  David Lodge examines the concept in the context of creativity and success in his novella Home Truths.

The compact story centers on Adrian Ludlow, a former novelist turned anthology editor who lives with his wife in "a little pocket of slightly scruffy agricultural land" in Sussex – closer to Gatwick airport than the South Downs.  Their longtime friend, television screenwriter Sam Sharp, drops in on his way to Los Angeles, fuming over a hatchet-job profile of him in that morning's paper.   Adrian and Sam plot to turn the tables on the journalist, who walks right into their trap.

Lodge based the novella on his play of the same name, with a few tweaks and some added material.  It is easy to see the skeleton of the play in the book because the story is almost all set in the Ludlows' living room, is told mostly in dialog, and is highly choreographed, with characters conveniently moving in and out of the living room to give others opportunity for one on one conversations.  This structure adds to the story by giving it an immediacy not found in longer, more narrated novels.

As the plot unfolds, each of the characters has to face some home truths about their careers and personal lives.  Like with a good play, lines and scenes draw laughs, but the bigger ideas will linger long after this quick read is finished.


fiction-books said...

Hi Gilion,

David Lodge isn't an author that I have ever read, but after reading your review I did some research on him and will definitely be following up on some of his work.

Storylines about the human psyche and characteristics have always intrigued me .. no-one likes hearing 'a few home truths'about themselves, but as an outsider listening in, it does make for some interesting observations and reading enjoyment!!

Thanks for the recommendation,


TracyK said...

That does sound very good. I will put it on my "to check out" list, although I already have a huge backlog. The topic and the approach sound entertaining and thought-provoking.

Rose City Reader said...

Yvonne: You always leave such thoughtful comments -- thank you. DL is one of my favorites. I think you would enjoy his books.

Tracy: Isn't it true! I almost hate to read any more about books because I have so many books to read already!

Bev Hankins said...

I love David Lodge! Great stuff. If you haven't read Paradise News by him, then you definitely should! (yes, I know you mentioned that you have so many books to read already....)

Michael5000 said...

Hmm, a Lodge I didn't know about. Thanks for the alert!

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