The award-winning, bestselling French novel by Philippe Besson set in 1984 France. Just outside a hotel in Bordeaux, Philippe chances upon a young man who bears a striking resemblance to his first love. What follows is a look back at the relationship he’s never forgotten, a hidden affair with a gorgeous boy named Thomas during their last year of high school.
It's not a groundbreaking book, but it's certainly an enjoyable one ... Readers with a taste for innovative plots will likely be disappointed with Lie With Me. The storyline is a well-worn one ... Besson renders Philippe beautifully, though, giving the boy a real sense of self-awareness ... Lie with Me succeeds as a novel because of Besson's graceful writing, beautifully translated by Ringwald. Besson is a gifted stylist, and he infuses Philippe's story with the right notes of sadness and longing ... lovely.
The work’s simplicity dissolves as the narrative unfolds, though, and it becomes clear that Besson’s written a thoughtful examination of the ways social class shapes the experience and memory of love ... [Lie With Me] brings to life the pain and endurance of a population that’s been suffering attacks on social welfare and living conditions for decades ... This kind of narrative’s well worn, and a large part of what makes Lie With Me memorable is the novel’s experimental form ... Molly Ringwald’s spare translation of the novel is moving ... Introspective and evocative, Lie With Me is an absorbing story about passionate love thwarted by class differences and homophobia. The slim novel takes on a great deal in a short amount of space and establishes Molly Ringwald as a skilled translator.
Is it autofiction? ... Whatever it is, the story — imbued with the sprightliness of youth, the nostalgia of age, the deep internal echoes of regret — is all true, even if it’s not true ... this synopsis reeks of André Aciman’s Call Me by Your Name... where Aciman’s novel flashes in the heat and salt of summer, Besson’s is soaked in heavy, sodden gray ... Lie With Me unpeels like a springy orange ... Lie With Me is single-minded in its focus, spare but lucid in its descriptions ... The intimacy is ripe on the page; this is a novel is horny for itself ... somewhere shy of the halfway point, Lie With Me veers sharply into the nether lands of ironic quasi-autobiography. In direct asides, Besson press-gangs the reader into the role of confessional priest ... Besson is never as transparent as Rachel Cusk or Catherine Millet. Lie With Me is closer on the metafiction scale to far more playful works like Pale Fire ... By concealing the line between artifice and truth, Besson preserves it ... Ultimately, these games are not a distraction from the romance and nostalgia but very much the point. Think about it: How much of our own teenage years do we invent? ... Besson’s method sucks you in as an accomplice to this kind of necessary self-delusion, and offers a tantalizing third way of considering our own pasts ... moving and graceful.