Robin Talley’s Lies We Tell Ourselves is an engrossing, even brilliant read, dealing with issues of race, gender and homosexuality in a frank and blunt fashion. Seventeen-year-old Sarah Dunbar, along with nine other African-Americans, joins an all-white school in Virginia in 1959 after a Supreme Court ruling on integration. The consequent hostility that is unleashed on her and her fellow integrators, as well as her troubled relationship with Linda Hairston, the daughter of a racist journalist, forms the basis of the story. While both girls battle their growing feelings for each other, they are also forced to confront issues of prejudice and racial stereotypes that contrive to bring them together and apart, in turn. Talley’s tale is not for the squeamish or fainthearted but is an important and intelligent work for young adults and adults alike.
We asked our authors to write about a favourite book, which they think more people should read.
Devika Rangachari is the author of many award-winning novels. Her novel for Duckbill is Queen of Ice, a teen novel about a tenth-century queen of Kashmir.