The Lie: A Novel

The Lie: A Novel

by Chad Kultgen


$14.41 $14.99 Save 4% Current price is $14.41, Original price is $14.99. You Save 4%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Monday, July 22


With the publication of The Average American Male — and the release of the shocking viral videos that made it a water-cooler sensation — Chad Kultgen became one of the most talked-about authors of recent years. Now, with The Lie, Kultgen returns with an even more salacious — yet also more searching — novel that reaches deeper into the craven inner workings of some of most depraved minds in America: college students.

His subjects are Brett, the rich hedonist whose appetite for sex is matched only by his contempt for women; his best friend, Kyle, the brooding science geek whose good intentions lead him to one disastrous decision; and Heather, the social-climbing sorority girl who has the power to destroy them both. As this devil's triangle plows through four years of college, Kultgen offers a astonishing take on the wild and amoral universe of college today: a frathouse world where sex is social currency, status means everything — and winner takes all.

Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061657306
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/03/2009
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 316,732
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.97(d)

About the Author

Chad Kultgen is a graduate of the USC School of Cinematic Arts. His novels include The Average American Male, The Average American Marriage, The Lie, and Men, Women & Children, the basis of a feature film by Jason Reitman. He lives in California.

Read an Excerpt

The Lie
A Novel

Chapter One

I fucking loved her like no guy has ever loved a girl. I know every guy has thought that about some girl, and that's exactly why I'm saying it. I'm also saying it because it was true.

We met about two weeks into our freshman year at SMU. I was majoring in biological sciences with the intent of getting into a good med school and she was getting a bachelor's degree in elementary education—she wanted to be a teacher. That seemed so sweet to me at the time. She was actually going to college to learn how to be a good teacher. I had a few teachers I liked along the way, but I'll never forget overhearing Mr. Campbell, my high school history teacher, telling Mrs. Baude, my high school calculus teacher, that he started teaching because it was the only job he could get and twenty-five years later it was the only job he could keep. I always kind of figured that's how most teachers became teachers, but she was actively pursuing the career. It was almost noble.

Classes had just barely started. I got a few syllabi, but I still hadn't even gone to some first classes yet because the hadn't been held. I was sitting in my dorm room in McElvaney, talking to my roommate, Dave, about some stupid bullshit like how he couldn't wait to get back home for Christmas so he could get some of his mom's cooking or some other inconsequential crap. Actually, maybe he was talking about which frats he wanted to try to get into the following semester. I had no interest in joining a frat, which he tried to convince me was the biggest mistake I would ever make. Later I found out he was a born-again Christian, and when he found out I didn't go to churchor subscribe to any religion he tried to convince me that burning in hell was almost as big a mistake as not getting into a frat. Anyway, whatever we were talking about got interrupted when we both heard a thud followed by some whimpering in the hallway outside our door. We went out to see what in the hell was going on and there was Heather. She was shit-faced beyond recognition.

Heather had apparently been too drunk to walk and had used her friend as a human crutch as they both stumbled back to McElvaney from whatever party they were at. Once they were in the hallway, her friend passed out, they both fell down, and Heather smashed her head against the wall. She had a small cut on her forehead and she was kind of crying or moaning—just making weird low noises, really. I remember genuinely feeling bad for her.

I asked her if she was okay and she said, "I need to lay down, I think."

She was hot as hell, there's no question about that. But there was something about her, something beyond just looking good, that attracted me to her almost immediately. I had a few girlfriends in high school I thought were cute or whatever, but not like this. I know it's gay, but it was her eyes or something. I don't know. Maybe it was just seeing her completely out-of-control drunk, too. But there was some kind of immediate attraction that wasn't like anything I'd ever felt. So, seeing a hot chick in need of aid, I did what any normal guy would have done. Actually I did what any pussy-ass chump would have done. I helped her up and asked if I could take her back to her room, with no intention of making any kind of move on her.

She said, "What floor are we on?"

I said, "Third."

"I think my room is on two. I can't really walk anymore. Where's your room?"

I said, "Right here."

As Heather went into my room I tried to get her friend up off the floor, but when I reached down and touched her arm she started yelling, "Get your fucking hands off me, asshole." Then she launched a halfhearted punch at my balls that kind of glanced off my thigh. I looked back to Heather to see if she was going to offer me some help in wrangling her friend, but she was already in my room, on my bed. Not wanting to risk another nut-shot, I just left her friend there, assuming she'd sober up and find her way back to her room.

I essentially could have done anything I wanted to Heather that night, but it didn't even cross my mind. I took off her shoes, went down the hall and ran some warm water over a washrag in the bathroom, came back, cleaned the blood off her forehead, put a Band-Aid on the cut, pulled up the covers, and—get this shit—I went to sleep on the fucking floor so she'd be more comfortable.

I remember Dave just pretending to go to sleep. At the time I really didn't know why, but after I found out about how Christian he was I thought it might have had something to do with breaking some rule against God or something by having a girl in our room. Who knows? He was a weird guy.

The next morning was awkward at best. Heather woke up before I did. She nudged me and then we introduced ourselves.

She said something like, "Hi. I'm Heather."

I said something like, "I'm Kyle."

"Did we . . . I hate having to actually ask this, but did we have sex last night?"


"Oh, I thought we . . . Are you sure?"

"Yeah. Positive. I think I would have remembered."

"I thought we were both drunk, though. I just want to make sure in case we didn't use any protection, you know, so I can get a morning-after pill."

This was our first official conversation and she was basically telling me that she was so slutty that standard operations for her involved being unable to remember having sex with a guy five hours after his dick was in her followed by eating morning-after pills like they were daily vitamins and this didn't even tip me off at all that this chick was bad fucking news.

The Lie
A Novel
. Copyright (c) by Chad Kultgen . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Lie 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 37 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was seriously amazing. The characters were so well developed, their flaws brought so perfectly to the surface. I was constantly amazed at how stupid Kyle could be to keep wanting Heather; disgusted by how manipulative and selfish Heather could be. Brett was honestly a huge jerk from the start, and his behavior was both shocking and completely amusing at the same time. The ending is a twist I definitely didn't expect, and I was thinking about it for days after reading.
sublime98 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Some will say this book is absolutely repulsive, vulgar, chauvinistic, and declare it should be burned. I doubt Chad Kultgen's goal was for this book to be anything else. The book focuses on three people: one geeky outcast, his "studly" best friend, and the geeky outcast's girlfriend. "The Lie" that the book refers to could be applied to one of many lies the characters tell to each other, or even themselves.It has some great one-liners, but also makes you question exactly what the hell the current generation is up to, and where they are going. You don't have to read that deeply into it, and can just have fun with the kinky sex, but if you do look deeper, there is plenty to look at.
TakeItOrLeaveIt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
i've been racking my brains as to understand why I love 'The Lie' so much. There is nothing particularly intellectually stimulating about it; in fact philosophy is never brought up at all. Possibly backwards-feminist rights in the subtext, that's irrational. Maybe because I haven't read an actual novel in so long and have been so caught up in theory writing? Maybe because it's the first modern novel (it came out before the year I read it 2008) I¿ve read since Murakami¿s latest. Or maybe because it's just really, really good and completely representative of my generation and those who go to big universities (something I was exposed to for two years at University of Oregon). Greek life always seemed like "bullshit" and two of the three main characters in the novel feel the same way. I would be lying to say I don't relate with Brett, the post-modern child of a faulty beginning who became accustomed to his resources and found his own niche in what they offered him. His best friend, the secondary character is still relatable in his drastic love for a girl who really means nothing except the idea he had for her, and deep down inside he knew it yet she still drives him to his demise. The perception of the girl in the novel Heather, is also interesting just to get into the psyche of a girl, although she is the typical dumb sorority girl it is hard to believe anyone could be as caddy as she is, but I have come in contact with these type of girls, the type who literally devote their entire lives to finding a rich husband and appealing to their sorority sisters. They live a life caring not of art, creativity, or culture unless it is forced upon them in a way no true intellect would approve of. But I¿m getting off topic. Really, there is so much to talk about with 'The Lie' because it leaves so much up to the reader. This is attributed to the narration style, where the story alternates from the voice of the three characters I have mentioned. Being trapped in a lifestyle that is not interesting, but in the way it is written and the simplicity of the characters needs brought so visceral by taking on the voice of all three, it could be anti-drug book just about anti-love. It¿s a novel about the perils of the mundane. It¿s an anti-love book. It is called `The Lie¿ but it is about numerous lies. It¿s about boredom. But overall, it is a brilliant critique on the absolute amusement to death of my generation. I conclude with a quote from Seneca (the Roman tutor of Caligula): Thus each man ever flees himself.¿But what good does it do him if he does not escape from himself? He constantly follows himself and oppresses himself as his own most irksome companion. Accordingly, we ought to know that what makes us struggle is the fault, not of our locations, but of ourselves: we are weak when anything has to be endured, and unable to bear toil or pleasure or ourselves or anything for any length of time. This is what has driven certain men to death, because by frequently changing their intentions they were constantly brought back to the same things and had left themselves no scope for novelty: they began to grow sick of life and the world itself, and their self-indulgent ways that sapped their vigor gave rise to the thought: `How long shall I put up with the same things?¿ ¿
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Never before have I been on such a roller coaster of where I went back and forth hating a book and finding it intriguing. Bravo to Chad for getting me so emotionally invested in one book. Upon finishing the book, I can see why people absolutely hate it and are quick to call it trash. I, myself, still think parts of it are literal trash but I'll spare the disgusting details for the faint of heart but hear me out. This book really does go a lot deeper than just crude sexual acts, drinking, drugs and partying. It takes a hard and very blunt look into the human behavior that is very well in existence in this world and Chad holds nothing back. You have Brett who is your typical rich, frat guy. For some unknown reason (at least I didn't pick up on it) despises women and think they're nothing but of good use for sex and to then be discarded. Perhaps of his wealth and the fact that women flock to him for no other reason might be the reason he hates them so much. You then have Heather who is a narcissist and is willing to do anything and everything for the validation of her peers. Her and Kyle meet, they hit it off because Heather is really only interested in using him to get to Brett. They end up having a 3 year on and off again relationship, breaking up a total amount of 2 times. I won't go into too much detail and spoil the book but after the second time of getting dumped by Heather, we see Kyle get Brett involved in a prank at an attempt to get revenge that ultimately goes very, very wrong for both Kyle and Brett. What's intriguing is, at least what I think, Chad's way of poking fun at humans and their obsession with revenge. Is revenge really so worth it that we're willing to risk it coming back at us full circle? Wouldn't it just make more sense to leave someone alone after being deceived by them multiple times? Who is to say that revenge actually brings any sort of closure anyway? I can completely understand the disgust readers have with this book but I don't think the characters were ever intended to be likable anyway.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome, awesome book! I couldn't put it down until the very end! And my mind was COMPLETELY BLOWN!! Throughout the whole book I couldn't imagine what had happened that was supposedly so 'terrible' to the characters, and I had never in a million years imagined what unfolded in the end. It is definitely not a book for the faint of heart as it is filled with more profanity and disgusting sexual acts than I could even imagine, much less describe, but I think that is what I loved about it the most. It was so raw and just open that it made me feel that much closer to the characters. This was my first Chad Kultgen book, and I will definitely be going back for the rest of his works. I just hope that they are at least close to as good as this one was!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Distgusting book and it takes alot for me to say that. Please dont waste your time reading this trash of a book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There is nothing better than finding a new author thats writing is thoroughly enjouable. After the first twenty pages, there was no putting this boor down. The story and caracters are all well developed. And of course, the college life is right on the money,from greek life, dorm like andd expectations. However, this book may come off as offensive to some. To me, it is a purely enjoyable work off fiction with some twists along the way. It comes with the perspective of the shy academic type, the shallow sorority girl and the rich frat guy. I will be looking out for more of this author's work in the future!
meshell26 More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you're looking for a book with pure entertainment value, then look no further. If you are easily offended however, stay far, far away. This book holds nothing back as it details the protagonist's transformation from a hopeless romantic into a misogynistic pig thanks to the emotional roller coaster that is his three year college romance. Cringe-worthy yet impossible to put down, this book is a highly recommended, thoroughly entertaining journey into the mind of three uniquely twisted college students.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Will Gardella More than 1 year ago
much better developed than his earlier 'average american male', The Lie is the story of three friends whose lives are inextricably intertwined. Admittedly vulgar, though i found the vulgarity added great value and humor. Told through alternating first person accounts from the three main characters. Its a shame that a lot of what is embellished here about college life is in fact not far off base. Brings clarity to the mantras: no girl is important enough to ruin a friendship over; and most importantly, Hell hath no fury like (even a vapid) a woman scorned... Fun read. I will never send my daughter to a college with greek life after reading this book...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amanda Pennington More than 1 year ago
His second book is awesome! I love it! Cant wait till he comes out with another. If you love Average American Male, then you'll def. love The Lie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
daredog More than 1 year ago
Loved it. Read the book in two days. Now to go find a used copy of his first book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago