The Truth: A Novel
  • The Truth: A Novel
  • The Truth: A Novel

The Truth: A Novel

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by Michael Palin
     
 

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"An ingeniously plotted, beautifully written and hugely enjoyable book that raises tricky questions about... our need for heroes [and] the price of personal compromise.'"—The Daily Telegraph

For the first time since his much-beloved tale Hemingway's Chair was published in 1998, Michael Palin pens a new novel featuring the warm and witty

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Overview

"An ingeniously plotted, beautifully written and hugely enjoyable book that raises tricky questions about... our need for heroes [and] the price of personal compromise.'"—The Daily Telegraph

For the first time since his much-beloved tale Hemingway's Chair was published in 1998, Michael Palin pens a new novel featuring the warm and witty story of an everyman, a tantalizing offer, a journey to India, and the search for the truth.

Keith Mabbut is at a crossroads in his life. A professional writer of some repute, he has reached the age of fifty-six with nothing resembling the success of his two great literary heroes, George Orwell and Albert Camus. When he is offered the opportunity of a lifetime—to write the biography of the elusive Hamish Melville, a widely respected and highly influential activist and humanitarian—he seizes the chance to write something meaningful. His search to find out the real story behind the legend takes Mabbut to the lush landscapes and environmental hotspots of India.

The more he discovers about Melville, the more he admires him—and the more he connects with an idealist who wanted to make a difference. But is his quarry really who he claims to be? As Keith discovers, the truth can be whatever we make it.
In this wonderful, heartwarming novel, Michael Palin turns his considerable skills to fiction in the story of an ordinary man on an extraordinary adventure.

"[Palin's] book is well paced, his prose, carefully hewn, his characters fully developed and convincingly human. And his comic timing is impeccable." —The Washington Post on Hemingway's Chair

"This book's strengths are . . . its dry, deftly, understated wit, its careful plot and character construction; it's clever, on-the-money dialogue . . . Those pleasures carry you a long way." —The New York Times Book Review on Hemingway's Chair

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
09/09/2013
Monty Python member Michael Palin (Hemingway's Chair) impresses with an enjoyable second novel. Keith Mabbut, an aging writer of talent but only modest success, is offered a lucrative contract to write the biography of the famous, but elusive indigenous rights activist Hamish Melville, an opportunity that would require him to put on hold his passion project of a trilogy of fantasy novels. After seeking advice from nearly everyone in his life, Mabbut travels to India in pursuit of an interview subject who does not want to be found. So begins a multi-continental adventure full of corporate intrigue, moral quandaries, and entertaining characters. Palin is a thoughtful, descriptive stylist, particularly in the South Asian chapters, and charmingly portrays Mabbut's middle-aged haplessness in the face of culture shock and unexpected mortal danger. As portended by the title, many characters prove to be different than they first seem, but these reversals are earned and lead to a satisfying climax. (Aug.)
From the Publisher
"With passion and flair, Palin details a journalist's quest to discover the truth about a reclusive environmental activist. . . . The wait for this compelling book has been more than worth it." —-Kirkus Starred Review
Library Journal
It takes 11 chapters before actor, comedian, and author Palin’s second novel in 15 years (after Hemingway's Chair) begins to get interesting. That’s when Keith Mabbut, a middle-aged writer, lands in India in search of an enigmatic international humanitarian named Hamish Melville. Mabbut was once a muckraking ecojournalist, but his career has languished to the point that he has been compelled to write glowing histories for mega-international oil corporations. Given a chance to pen the definitive biography of an environmental activist he much admires, he packs his bags. With leads and some luck, Mabbut tracks Melville to a remote hillside where local villagers are fighting a large-scale mining operation. As Mabbut struggles to convince Melville to share his story with the world, he confronts conflicting versions of the truth in all aspects of Melville's life. Mabbut is a clueless idealist, a tad dull, but well intentioned. So is this book, which is strongest when describing cultural details and adventure travel in India.

Verdict Fans of Palin’s televised travel programs may be intrigued. Just don’t expect the madcap hilarity of a Monty Python episode, despite the author’s résumé.—Christine Perkins, Whatcom Cty. Lib. Syst., Bellingham, WA
(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Reviews
With passion and flair, Palin (of Monty Python fame) details a journalist's quest to discover the truth about a reclusive environmental activist. Once, London journalist Keith Mabbut was an award-winning crusader, exposing chemical polluters, but now he's just another hack, working on company vanity projects while mourning his separation from his Polish wife, Krystyna, who's just announced she wants a divorce (she's met somebody else). The good news is that a top publisher wants him to do a book on Hamish Melville, the elderly, widely admired environmentalist; the media-averse Melville works below the radar, encouraging native peoples to confront corporate power, so Keith must run him to earth. The publisher, hard-charging Ron Latham, will pay big bucks; he's chosen the 56-year-old Keith for his integrity. Krystyna's new beau, a well-connected one-time friend of Melville, gives Keith his first lead: The old boy is in Kalinga, East India. Palin ramps up the suspense as Keith arrives. He finds Melville with surprising ease before the canny agitator disappears. On his trail again, Keith is abducted by some Naxalites (Indian Maoists) who threaten to kill him: It's Melville who rescues him. Keith slowly gains his trust: Melville is as impressive as he'd hoped but also playful and irreverent. Keith is given a tour of the tribal areas. The indigenous people are threatened by a giant mining company that wants their bauxite. At the heart of the novel is the question: Can they assimilate change without losing their identity? Melville gives his blessing to the book, while limiting future contact. Keith meets his deadline, but Latham is not happy. Where's Melville's dark side, the dirt that will sell the book? There's an old adversary who may have damning evidence against him. The suspense continues as Keith is challenged by new revelations, some concerning the publisher's sinister corporate parent. It's been a long time since Palin's first novel (Hemingway's Chair, 1998). The wait for this compelling book has been more than worth it.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781250028235
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
08/13/2013
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
703,818
File size:
342 KB

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“An entertaining story of hero worship, compromise and grubby trade-offs.” —Tatler

“It's a feel-good story leaving the reader on a real high.” —The Observer

“Palin's dryly understated exasperation with the absurdities of daily life and his ear for dialogue raise an appreciative smile.” —The Sunday Times Culture

“Well-crafted, warm hearted—and wholly recommended.” —Reader’s Digest

Meet the Author

MICHAEL PALIN is a comedian, novelist, actor, playwright, and founding member of Monty Python. He is the author of the novel Hemingway's Chair as well as several books on the history of Monty Python, including The Pythons, and numerous travel guides, including Brazil and Sahara. He also happens to be one of the funniest people on the planet. He lives in London, England.

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The Truth 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
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