Seven Lies by James Lasdun
Part political thriller, part meditation on the nature of desire and betrayal, Seven Lies tells the story of Stefan Vogel, a young man growing up in the former East Germany, whose yearnings for love, glory and freedom express themselves in a lifelong fantasy of going to America. The hopeless son of an ambitious mother and a kind but unlucky diplomat, Stefan lurches between his budding, covert interests - girls and Romantic poetry - to find himself embroiled in dissident politics, which oddly seems to offer both. In time, by a series of blackly comic and increasingly dangerous manoeuvres, he contrives to make his fantasy come true, finding himself not only in the country of his dreams, but also married to the woman he idolises. America seems everything he expected, and meanwhile his secrets are safely locked away behind the Berlin Wall. A new life of unbounded bliss seems to have been granted to him. And then that life begins to fall apart...Exquisitely written and brilliantly imagined, James Lasdun's second novel is a terrifying plummet into anxiety, as complacency yields to an edgy paranoia. Pitching the furtive, shabby world of Communist Berlin against the glassy superficiality of contemporary New York, Seven Lies is an examination of the architecture of deceit - how deceit builds on itself until life is little more than an accretion of falsehood; how hope turns to fear, and dreams to nightmares.