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My Favorite Lies by Ruth Hamel


My Favorite Lies by Ruth Hamel

There's one thing I know: Lies hold people together. So says the narrator of the title story, a furniture refinisher who prides herself on her talent for sidestepping the facts. If only she weren't continually frustrated by her truth-telling older sister. If only the past would keep its distance. In My Favorite Lies, Ruth Hamel uses a unique blend of humor, irony, and telling detail to explore the lies people tell each other - not just the fibs, prevarications, and exaggerations, but the deceptions that spring from deliberate silence. These stories examine the lies we tell ourselves as we struggle to bridge the gap between who we are and who we'd rather be. One of the most striking characteristics of Hamel's work is the masterful economy of language that brings to life her characters and their situations within a few sentences of any story's opening. Some of these characters have reached adulthood with unhealed emotional wounds from childhood and are in the process of coming to terms with their parents or siblings. Others are detached from the social life around them and are finding temporary solace with a partner who is similarly alienated. We observe their stumbling efforts to resolve these lingering conflicts. Inevitably these stories confront the nature of love in its various guises. One character is puzzled by her mother's fidelity to her hypocritical father, but explains it with words that apply to her own awkward relationships: Because somehow, against all the evidence to the contrary, you see something to love. And somehow it's enough. Whether they're trying to escape their pasts, their families, or their own worst impulses, the characters in Hamel's stories make the same discovery: The truth will always become apparent.

About the Author

Ruth Hamel's stories have appeared in many magazines, including Kenyon Review, North American Review, and Missouri Review. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and cited in the O. Henry Awards. She lives in Connecticut.

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Book Info

Publication date

30th November 2001


Ruth Hamel

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University of Missouri Press


192 pages


Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
Short stories



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