Mari Ness (mariness) wrote,
Mari Ness

twenty-six lies/one truth

Now I really hate Ben Peek. Because, as others have noted, he took a simple internet meme that was a source of five minutes entertainment for everyone else and turned it into literature. And because I'm now like, months late in blogging about it, so I feel guilty, and because, damn it, the book made me furious and made me laugh all at the same time, which is bad for the digestion.

Disclaimer: benpeek's a friend of mine, which I was pretty sure, after years of reading his blog and his various short fiction, that I knew what I was getting into. I did, and I didn't. Because what twenty-six lies/one truth shows you is both the real benpeek and a literary construct of benpeek in a work that simultaneously examines and commits literary fraud. And in the process, creating a book that's almost impossible to summarize and hellish to review.

You may remember the meme, which went more or less like this – another LJer would give you a letter, and you had to come up with 10 things starting with that letter and chat about them. benpeek sticks to this basic structure, with ten entries for every letter except X. The entries themselves vary: some recount events, real or imagined, in benpeek's life (remember, the title says the book is mostly lies, with only one truth); some contemplate varying concepts of identity, of truth, of censorship, of molestation, of murder, of Traci Lords; others recount the stories of authorial fraud, authors that faked work, faked identities, lied, and lied, and lied; and still others are funny little vignettes or stories. Part of the fun, of course, is guessing which parts are real, and which are lies. (I am rather hoping that the bit about tequila is a lie.) Interspersed among the entries are conversations between Peek and his partner, G, telling an almost, but not quite, separate story of their own.

I've made this sound dull, but it isn't: despite a complete refusal to follow a standard narrative format, the book is utterly compelling reading, often funny, often painful. And nearly impossible to summarize and highly difficult to review. Go. Read.

Even if almost everything he says about me in it is a total lie.

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