The Lie: A Novel

Fredrica Wagman

Steerforth Press,  April 2009

Ramona Smollens has a chance meeting on a park bench with an older man, Solomon Columbus. The two became lovers, and soon Ramona is leaving the home of her mother and recently deceased father for marriage and the trappings of adult life. She takes with her a dark family secret, the sort of secret one simply did not talk about, one that would stalk her as she matured into her role as wife and mother. Coming of age in 1950s America, Ramona gets her cues about a woman's role from the world around her, and about female sexuality from the silver screen. But when experience teaches her that Hollywood's ideal is in fact "the lie," truth and desire collide with a force that is deeply moving and unforgettable.

paperback | ISBN: 9781586421571 | Publication Date: April 2009

"Fredrica Wagman writes like no one else: her prose swoops and dips and soars, taking us inside a strange and captivating fictional world. The Lie is a wholly original look at the vagaries of love and desire as told through the vivid fantasies and acute perceptions of its narrator. An ordinary-seeming wife, mother, and daughter, Ramona Smollens attempts to escape the grip of a painful past, in which she has had to endure a rageful father and a monstrously narcissistic mother, only to discover that the glamour of grownup life wears thin quickly enough and that marriage to a sympathetic man comes with its own disappointments and deceits. Identifying as she does with the mangled psyche and erotic allure of screen siren Rita Hayworth, Ramona speaks a kind of lyric truth that uncovers the heartbreak nestled inside the layers of daily life. Her inability to feel sexual pleasure gradually emerges as a metaphor for the bewildering gap that exists between our earliest wishes and the eventual shape of our destinies."
--Daphne Merkin, author of Enchantment, a novel, and Dreaming of Hitler, a collection of essays.