An intense memoir about mental illness, memory, and storytelling from an acclaimed novelist.
When Rob Roberge learns that he's likely to have developed a progressive memory-eroding disease from years of hard living and frequent concussions, he is terrified by the prospect of becoming a walking shadow. In a desperate attempt to preserve his identity, he sets out to (somewhat faithfully) record the most formative moments of his life - ranging from the brutal murder of his childhood girlfriend to a diagnosis of rapid-cycling bipolar disorder to opening for famed indie band Yo La Tengo at The Fillmore in San Francisco. But the process of trying to remember his past only exposes just how fragile the stories that lie at the heart of our self-conceptions really are.
As Liar twists and turns through Roberge's life, it turns the familiar story of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll on its head. Darkly funny and brutally frank, it offers a remarkable portrait of a down-and-out existence cobbled together across the country, from musicians' crashpads around Boston to seedy bars popular with sideshow freaks in Florida to a painful moment of reckoning in the scorched Wonder Valley desert of California. As Roberge struggles to keep addiction and mental illness from destroying the good life he has built in his better moments, he is forced to acknowledge the increasingly blurred line between the lies we tell others and the lies we tell ourselves.
"I've never read a book more intimately devoted to articulating how tenuous our hold on identity is. Identity is made, unmade, remade by chasing memory, and memory is a series of emotional intensities we barely survive. We make up stories of ourselves to bear the weight of our actual lives. We live between those stories and events coming at us like catastrophic meteors. And yet, mercifully and sporadically, love comes. Read Rob Roberge's memoir, Liar. Because life is what happens between truth and the fictions we make to withstand it." (Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Small Backs of Children and The Chronology of Water)
"Uncompromising and deeply affecting, Liar is a brilliantly fragmented, darkly humorous account of a lifelong struggle with addiction and mental illness that stands with Fred Exley's A Fan's Notes. Strip-mining his memories for veins of truth, Rob Roberge unearths a fractured, unholy, and undeniable work of brilliance." (J. Ryan Stradal, New York Times best-selling author of Kitchens of the Great Midwest)
"Wow, what an amazing book. Blunt, brave, sad, funny, and full of heart, Rob Roberge's jaw-dropping journey through life makes you feel all your feelings, some of which you didn't even know you had." (Dan Marshall, author of Home Is Burning)
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