Lie With Me: A Novel
“Lie with Me will enthrall the reader from start to finish. The prose is so spot on. Besson seems incapable of wasting a word. His descriptions, his feelings, and his memories are precise and captivating.”
If you have ever been desperately in love and overwhelmed with intense and insatiable desire that ended in heartache and loss then this is the ideal book for you. Lie with Me is the beautiful love story of two adolescent boys. Set in France, 1984, the story is told through the eyes of Philippe, one of the boys, who reflects on his childhood, sexual awakening, and first love. It is a known cliché that first love dies hard and none more so than in this enthralling story that is wonderfully told.
Philippe is an international bestselling novelist. One day he finds himself back in his hometown of Bordeaux in a hotel where he is being interviewed by a journalist about his writing career. During the interview he suddenly sees a young man walk past the reception area who bears a striking resemblance to Thomas, his first love.
Compelled to follow him out of the hotel, Philippe intuitively realises that he is in fact Thomas’ son and, indeed, Lucas, the young man in question, confirms this. Following this unexpected discovery, Philippe looks back on his youth and his passionate and world-altering affair with Thomas which shaped his life more than any other relationship that followed.
Philippe and Thomas met during their first year at secondary school and soon start stealing time together in secret resulting in a passionate affair of “kissing, sucking and fucking.” Philippe, whose father was a head teacher, was always the confident one, outgoing and sure that one day he would escape the confines of small-town life and explore the largeness of the world. Thomas, on the other hand, was reserved and commitment-bound to carry on in his father’s footsteps and manage the family farm.
Thomas was not as comfortable about his sexuality as Philippe was. He was terrified of people finding out. Meetings, therefore, between the boys were strictly on Thomas’ terms of secrecy, hesitancy, and reserve. But when they met up, their different worlds became woven together, bound by many intense and intimate experiences.
The school year ended, and after completing the baccalauréat their relationship came to an end. Thomas suddenly disappeared to Spain to spend time with a relative, but instead of returning to France he got married. Philippe and Thomas never saw each other again, yet they had both clung to each other emotionally, albeit in very different ways, for many years afterward.
Later, in the novel Philippe meets with Lucas again, and more details about Thomas’ life are revealed. Without giving too much of the story away, the reader discovers how the curse of deeply entrenched self-hatred and loathing of his sexuality prevented Thomas from living a happy and authentic life, and how this caused him unnecessary angst and emotional suffering throughout his adult life.
Although this is a short novel consisting of just 150 pages, Lie with Me will enthrall the reader from start to finish. The prose is so spot on. Besson seems incapable of wasting a word. His descriptions, his feelings, and his memories are precise and captivating.
Readers may form the view that Lie with Me could be semi-autobiographical in parts or that perhaps somebody close to the author lived the story or certain aspects of it. Whether this is true or not doesn’t matter because it is first and foremost a mesmerising and memorable story that will leave all readers transfixed.