Martha McPhee’s Gorgeous Lies served as my “bus book” for the last month. It is terrible. Really, really, bad awful. I would have stopped reading it, but it fit so well in my backpack and I only had to stomach a few pages at a time.
The novel follow the “wacky” Fury family – a new age blended family – as the patriarch Anton dies of pancreatic cancer. There’s the suggestion that there is some big secret lingering at the heart of his life that will either be revealed on his death-bed or in the book he’d been working on before his death. Turns out it’s no secret at all, the narrator lets us know early on that he’s been having sex with his stepdaughter(s).
The plot is terrible, but more frustrating and impossibly distracting is the writing. Awkward transitions, incredibly banal metaphors, clumsy dialogue, weak attempts at poetic description.
Turns out the book is a sequel – something the back cover does a good job of avoiding – which might explain some of the plot failings, but certainly does not account for the formulaic writing. Future bus books will be chosen based on more than size.