by Rana Asfour
The first time I read Adele Parks was in 2013 when I was on a flight from London to Abu Dhabi. I'd downloaded 'The State We're In' mainly because I'm a nervous flyer and reckoned a romantic plot between two strangers who meet on a plane could just be the ideal antidote to hold at bay a baseless, senseless fear that I'd developed out of nowhere. Fast forward several years and I'm happy to report that although my anxieties over flying have acutely diminished, my initial awe at Adele Parks's masterful genius at weaving extraordinary stories from the humdrum of the every day has not. Her 19th novel 'Lies Lies Lies' comes out in September and is as wild a ride as there'll ever be this Fall Season.
Her latest offering 'Lies Lies Lies', out next month, centres around Simon and Daisy who've been married for 17 years and have a six-year-old daughter Millie who despite her young years seems destined to become a ballerina. Simon, an interior designer, and Daisy, a teacher, are not only successful at their jobs but are surrounded by a network of supportive friends they've known since uni. But, despite the seeming outwardly perfection of the family, from the get-go readers are thrown hints that behind this family's closed doors things are not so great as one chapter after the other chisels at the perfection until it shatters into a million tiny pieces.
Simon is a functioning alcoholic (not a spoiler trust me) and Daisy is the ever dutiful wife who lives in the hope that nobody finds out. Delusional? absolutely. Saintly? Not by any stretch. For, as we move on in the novel, not only do the roots of Daisy's insecurities, struggles with her self-esteem, and pursuit of perfection surface but what emerges is also a portrait of a woman who, just like her husband, not only harbours secrets but also obsessively - maybe even selfishly - goes after what she wants regardless the consequences or the price albeit for very different reasons.
Besides Simon and Daisy, we have a large cast of characters presented in the family and friends that surround the couple and it seems that birds of a feather do flock together. Despite the disparity in the friends' financial status, they are a tight knit group who have known each other for a long time and whose children are growing up together and look to each other as surrogate siblings rather than mere friends. They all seem to think that they know one another more than they know themselves but of course, we realise as do the characters, that everything with time changes and they are no longer sure of who the person they are dealing with really is like when all is said and done - this is particularly evident in how they react towards the novel's major traumatic incident and the persons involved in it when it takes place.
So what's the novel really about? although the title is in itself self-explanatory, the novel is so multi-layered: marriage, addiction, friendship, trauma and memory, and ultimately second chances. As a domestic thriller, it is packed to the brim with twists and turns although at one point I started wanting less of both especially towards the end of the novel where too many twists left me feeling that the writing became more concerned with the shock factor than the characters' developmental arch. But that's just me nit-picking.
That said, all in all a very entertaining read.
The book will be published in the UK, September 5, 2019