Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Living with the Truth

Jonathan Payne has, over the course of a lifetime, settled comfortably into a lifestyle that demands very little of him. He is owner, and sole employee, of a small bookshop that is filled to bursting with used volumes but which draws a limited number of customers through its front door. He lives alone, has lost both parents, and rarely has any meaningful contact with his only sister Рor with anyone else, for that matter. His nights are his own and he often spends them pouring over the risqu̩ magazines he has stacked in his bedroom.

The man is his own boss in every sense of the word.

That is, until Truth shows up for breakfast one morning as Jonathan is preparing to leave for the bookshop and simply refuses to go away. Not only does Truth take over a spare bedroom (although he never sleeps), he accompanies Jonathan to the bookshop and becomes his constant companion, something a loner like Jonathan is not particularly pleased about.

Luckily for Jonathan, Truth, a handsome fellow with a mildly twisted sense of humor, is the kind of guy whose company grows on a person. So despite his initial reluctance to have Truth around all the time, Jonathan begins to enjoy their conversation and finds himself teasing and joking with Truth when he spots an opportunity to do so. And, in the process, Jonathan begins to learn some painful truths about the missed opportunities sprinkled throughout his past, opportunities lost due to his own bad choices.

Truth, as personified by author Jim Murdoch, is a rather soft-hearted spirit not at all interested in hurting the people in whom he takes an interest. In fact, humans fascinate him so much that he enjoys and looks forward to “working” with them on a one-on-one basis. Yes, he wants his humans to see the truth about themselves and the way they have up-to-now spent their lives, but he reveals those truths in such a nonjudgmental manner that personal regrets are limited.

Living with the Truth is more than the story of one man’s life and what he finally learns about himself and his past choices. It is also a reminder that one short lifetime is all that any of us are allotted and that those of us who refuse to ever take a risk, and are forever taking the safer turn at life’s crossroads, will probably look back in regret about “what could have been.” And that, by then, it will be too late.

Much like Mr. Truth himself, Living with the Truth is one of those books that grows on the reader as its pages are turned. It is a cleverly constructed tale with a moral to offer, hard to beat that combination.

Rated at: 4.0


  1. I'm a fan of Jim Murdoch's blog The truth about lies, and really want to read this. The only thing that's stopped me is getting hold of it here in Sydney. If you haven't read his blog yet Sam, I'd recommend it! The link is: http://jim-murdoch.blogspot.com/

  2. Sounds interesting! Think I'll check out the blog, too.

  3. Sarah, always glad to meet a fan (unless they're the kind that wants to strap me to a bed and hobble me) especially an Australian one – always had a fondness for Aussies. Yeah, I used to order CDs from a company in Australia – I'd just discovered Australian classical music – and the postage was a bit of a bind. When the sequel comes out next year I'm going to make an e-book available of both books – I think I'll call it The Whole Truth – because e-readers are picking up in popularity and this would be a good way to maybe get a few more readers. Personally I think the cost of new books is ridiculous anyway and unless it's for a pressie I'll always look for a second-hand option.

    And, Jenclair, glad your interest has been piqued. Hope you like what you see. You can read a sample chapter on my website and there are also links to all the other reviews available online.

  4. Nice review - I like the book too.

    Perhaps Jim should define 'hobble' in case anyone hasn't read 'Misery' (or 'Roots' for that matter) and misunderstands Jim's suggestion by tying him to a bed and rogering him... now there's an image! :)

    (I fear if blogs were equipped with 'tone meters' then they would all twitch downwards whenever I show up... sorry.)

  5. That is a fun blog, Sarah. (I've been "blogged" there today, I see, and it put a smile on my face - take a look.)

  6. I think you'll enjoy the book, Jenclair. It got better and better for me as I learned more and more about Truth and the bookshop owner.

  7. Interesting news, Jim. Thanks for stopping by. I like "The Whole Truth" as a title for the ebook, BTW.

  8. You have an interesting "way" with words, Ken.

    Thanks for stopping by. :-)