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Lie With Me (2017)

by Philippe Besson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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4872949,757 (4.02)14
"The award-winning, bestselling French novel by Philippe Besson--"the French Brokeback Mountain" (Elle)--about an affair between two teenage boys in 1984 France, translated with subtle beauty and haunting lyricism by the iconic and internationally acclaimed actress/writer Molly Ringwald. We drive at high speed along back roads, through woods, vineyards, and oat fields. The bike smells like gasoline and makes a lot of noise, and sometimes I'm frightened when the wheels slip on the gravel on the dirt road, but the only thing that matters is that I'm holding on to him, that I'm holding on to him outside. Just outside a hotel in Bordeaux, Philippe chances upon a young man who bears a striking resemblance to his first love. What follows is a look back at the relationship he's never forgotten, a hidden affair with a gorgeous boy named Thomas during their last year of high school. Without ever acknowledging they know each other in the halls, they steal time to meet in secret, carrying on a passionate, world-altering affair. Dazzlingly rendered in English by Ringwald in her first-ever translation, Besson's powerfully moving coming-of-age story captures the eroticism and tenderness of first love--and the heartbreaking passage of time"--… (more)
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» See also 14 mentions

English (24)  French (4)  Dutch (1)  All languages (29)
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
I was at the metro station waiting for my bus. I was only a few steps away from the bus stop and I still missed the bus because I got so caught up reading the last few pages of the book. ( )
  imjustmea | Dec 23, 2023 |
this book definitely gives off a been there done that vibe in terms of first gay love. but it is heartbreaking and very beautiful. this book is translated from French and the writing flows so well! the way this book is sectioned off to the perfect shortness of it to the haunting last line.. perfection! i can see myself rereading this one way with a non-library copy and soaking in the words more. this story does a lot of telling instead of showing and it does so in a way that places you in the shoes of the main character and develops the characters through metaphor and flashback ( )
  Ellen-Simon | Dec 21, 2023 |
On reflection, this was a beautiful short read. I came very close to tears welling in my eyes, which for me is the equivalent of effusive weeping for regular schmucks. Ringwald's translation is sensitive and elegantly pitched; the whole affair is draped in a kind of fragile grace.
(My only complaint is both minimal and mundane, and directed at the translator, the one and only Ms. Molly Ringwald. I think we need to retire the use of the word "sex" as a noun describing the genitals. It's a little too... Lawrence Durrell.) ( )
  therebelprince | Oct 24, 2023 |
I adored this book. There's a veracity to the prose (I think it's an excellent translation) and the plot that made it very compelling and moving. It is also beautifully lyrical and suffused with a sense of nostalgia or melancholy. I guess that could maybe be described as emotionally manipulative, but given that it's just a novella and given the sense of truth to it, I didn't find it so. It is a classic of gay literature and one I'll probably return to in later years. ( )
  robfwalter | Jul 31, 2023 |
Lie With Me by Philippe Besson, translated by Molly Ringwald (yes THAT Molly Ringwald)

I want you to take a moment and remember your first love. The feeling in your chest on catching sight of them. The sound of their voice, their laughter. The way your hand would tingle after their touch. The hours spent daydreaming of what your future would be like. How it felt that there could not possibly be a love stronger than this. How still to this day you think of them. Wonder about them. About what might have been.

Now, let me introduce you to Lie With Me by Philippe Besson

While being interviewed in a hotel lobby for his latest novel, Philippe glimpses a young man who bears a striking resemblance to his first love. Without thinking he follows the man and takes us back to the story of his first love, Thomas.

This book captures the intensity and uncertainty of young love. The fumbling emotions and jealousy made more pointed by the difficulties of being gay. Philippe and Thomas's relationship is intense and all-consuming, and Besson does a fantastic job of bringing this to life. The story does not shy away from the fear, confusion, and isolation that many queer individuals experience, and a reminder of the challenges that many people still face today.

The novel reads like memoir but we are made to wonder how authentic the material is. From the outset the author himself declares that as a writer he tends towards embellishing and misremembering. The English title of the book (different from the French "Arrête avec tes mensonges," which means "Stop with your lies.") has so many meaning - romantic, invitational, and colluding – but it doesn’t take away from the story itself.

Lie with Me is a moving exploration of queer love, desire, and heartbreak. It is about how first love can define our lives and is a memory that you will carry with you for the rest of your life.
( )
  rosienotrose | Jul 11, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Philippe Bessonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ringwald, MollyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
You didn't have to attract desire... Either it was there at first glance or else it had never been. It was instant knowledge of sexual relationship or it was nothing.
~ Marguerite Duras, The Lover
I concluded with an aching finality that the could-happen possibilities were gone, and that doing whatever you wanted was over. The future didn't exist anymore. Everything was in the past and would stay there.
~ Bret Easton Ellis, Lunar Park
Dedication
In memory of Thomas Andrieu (1966-2016)
First words
One day -- I can say precisely when, I know the date -- I find myself in the bar of a hotel lobby in a provincial city, sitting in an armchair across from a journalist, a low round table between us, being interview for my latest novel, which recently came out.
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"The award-winning, bestselling French novel by Philippe Besson--"the French Brokeback Mountain" (Elle)--about an affair between two teenage boys in 1984 France, translated with subtle beauty and haunting lyricism by the iconic and internationally acclaimed actress/writer Molly Ringwald. We drive at high speed along back roads, through woods, vineyards, and oat fields. The bike smells like gasoline and makes a lot of noise, and sometimes I'm frightened when the wheels slip on the gravel on the dirt road, but the only thing that matters is that I'm holding on to him, that I'm holding on to him outside. Just outside a hotel in Bordeaux, Philippe chances upon a young man who bears a striking resemblance to his first love. What follows is a look back at the relationship he's never forgotten, a hidden affair with a gorgeous boy named Thomas during their last year of high school. Without ever acknowledging they know each other in the halls, they steal time to meet in secret, carrying on a passionate, world-altering affair. Dazzlingly rendered in English by Ringwald in her first-ever translation, Besson's powerfully moving coming-of-age story captures the eroticism and tenderness of first love--and the heartbreaking passage of time"--

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