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The Liar's Dictionary: A Novel de Eley…
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The Liar's Dictionary: A Novel (original: 2020; edição: 2021)

de Eley Williams (Autor)

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7874428,862 (3.55)65
"Peter Winceworth, a disaffected Victorian lexicographer, inserts false entries into a dictionary - violating and subverting the dictionary's authority - in an attempt to assert some sense of individual purpose and artistic freedom. In the present day, Mallory, a young overworked and underpaid intern employed by the dictionary's publishing house, is tasked with uncovering these entries before the work is digitised. As the novel progresses and their narratives combine, as Winceworth imagines who will find his fictional words in an unknown future and Mallory discovers more about the anonymous lexicographer's life through the clues left in his fictitious entries, both discover how they might negotiate the complexities of an absurd, relentless, untrustworthy, hoax-strewn, undefinable life.Braiding together contemporary and historical narratives, the novel explores themes of trust, agency and creativity, celebrating the rigidity, fragility and absurdity of language."--Provided by publisher.… (mais)
Membro:alisonfrances
Título:The Liar's Dictionary: A Novel
Autores:Eley Williams (Autor)
Informação:Random House Audio (2021)
Coleções:Sua biblioteca, Lendo atualmente
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The Liar's Dictionary de Eley Williams (2020)

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Mostrando 1-5 de 44 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
I can totally see why this novel isn't for everyone. If you like language, have a mind for detail and unusual characters then this will be for you. If you desire an easy read with your typical relatable characters then you might want to move onto something else.

What stood out for me are the characters. Very nicely detailed, non-standard rumblers, trotting through an unstable social environment. Sure, they are complete anti-heroes, but at least they see the world in a different light and a curiously entertaining one at that.

It's also the characters that prevent me from not giving it the max of 5 stars. Well, that and one other thing, which I will explain in a bit. When you have unusual characters, ones that stand out because of their odd behavior, you don't automatically get free-reign. There is still a certain consistency you might expect. We can see this go south mostly with Sophia, the love interest of Peter Winceworth, a scrivener in Victorian England tasked with finding new words to add to the fictitious dictionary, the topic of the novel. Sophia starts out as a quirky, caring, eccentric and whimsical character, sharing a lot of traits with Peter. By the end of the novel she behaves like a smug socialite only out for her own salacious self interests.

One other thing bugged me, and I think it's probably only me. There is a fair amount of bodily function descriptions in the book, which I found difficult to get through and I even had to skip one of them. Ironically, it feels like the author also had trouble with it since the specifics were provided in a French translation.

If the two dissonant aspects of the novel had been avoided or removed I would have immediately called this my favorite novel ever. ( )
  TheCriticalTimes | Jul 14, 2024 |
The prospect of this novel greatly intrigued me, but actually reading it was a slough. There were times when I was positive that Williams was vying for the longest possible sentences and using as many obscure words as possible instead of drawing together a narrative. I enjoyed Mallory's sections and her growth, but Winceworth's were wince worthy. I struggled to understand his importance outside of being the mountweazel creator. I'm left with quite a few questions that I may have missed the answers to in my quest to finish the story. I don't think I'll be returning to this book any time soon. ( )
  BarnesBookshelf | Jul 4, 2024 |
Somewhere in the world are people who find this book charming, but I am not one of those people. There is a lot of style but little substance here. The author writes, towards the end of this slog through arcane words but little plot, "Simply put is best put." If only she had taken that advice herself. Not recommended. ( )
  librarianarpita | May 8, 2024 |
Scrumptious, delightful. I had to actively slow myself down as I read it; it would have been easy to gobble up in a day or two. Reminds me in some ways of Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg, the questioning of language and authority and the ways queerness is entirely load-bearing in the way the novel asks such questions. And how much room they both devote to play... ( )
  localgayangel | Mar 5, 2024 |
"I always disliked the expression sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me. It is one of the least useful ways of understanding one another, or how words work."

A novel for people who love language and who perhaps experience a sensation of being on the outside of the human confraternity looking in. It is equal parts whimsical and profound, and split into alternating timelines centering on a late 19th century failed effort to create an encyclopedic dictionary a la the Oxford English Dictionary.

It is 1899 and Peter Winceworth has spent the past five years working on the letter S for the dictionary, scrivening and researching among 100 other lexicographers. A socially awkward and lonely man, he faked a lisp to win his interviewer's sympathy and get the job and has kept up the mask and shield since. He notes the gaps in the English language that mirror the gaps in his own life and invents words to fill them, such as when he thinks "there really should be a specific word associated with the effects of drinking an excess of alcohol. The headaches, the seething sense of paranoia - language seemed the poorer for not having one." [Google's ngram viewer shows "hangover" didn't come into notable use until around 1910, while Wiktionary points to 1904 for its first use in this sense].

It is also the current day and Mallory is the sole employee of the dictionary's inheritor, working on a project to digitize the never completed dictionary while updating definitions as appropriate. An anonymous caller makes daily threats, angry that the dictionary has redefined "marriage" following the resolution of the contemporary debate around that institution. She is in a long term relationship with her partner Pip but has not come out as a lesbian, holding up a mask and shield for her true self. She learns that many "mountweazels", or invented words, have been inserted amongst the legitimate words by someone originally working on the project, and she and Pip start working to ferret them out.

Winceworth has his world shaken up when a fellow lexicographer, who hails from the aristocracy and essentially funds the whole enterprise, returns from a year in Russia "researching" word origins with his new fiancee, Sophia Slivkovna, who is evidently engaged in a nebulous agenda of her own. Miss Slivkovna builds a sympathetic rapport with Winceworth, who feels so seen that he completely forgets to lisp when with her. As he falls for her in a hopeless infatuation, he becomes more disengaged from the dictionary's real project and into the creation of his own.
slivkovnion (n.), a daydream, briefly


Mammonsomniate (v.), to dream that money might make anything possible


The two storylines are brought to conclusions that lead the characters into opportunities to more fully realize their true selves, and to embrace those words that fully reflect themselves. Words, this novel argues, are powerful things, and we create them as we create ourselves. ( )
  lelandleslie | Feb 24, 2024 |
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Eley Williamsautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Atherton, KristinNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Glover, JonNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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"Peter Winceworth, a disaffected Victorian lexicographer, inserts false entries into a dictionary - violating and subverting the dictionary's authority - in an attempt to assert some sense of individual purpose and artistic freedom. In the present day, Mallory, a young overworked and underpaid intern employed by the dictionary's publishing house, is tasked with uncovering these entries before the work is digitised. As the novel progresses and their narratives combine, as Winceworth imagines who will find his fictional words in an unknown future and Mallory discovers more about the anonymous lexicographer's life through the clues left in his fictitious entries, both discover how they might negotiate the complexities of an absurd, relentless, untrustworthy, hoax-strewn, undefinable life.Braiding together contemporary and historical narratives, the novel explores themes of trust, agency and creativity, celebrating the rigidity, fragility and absurdity of language."--Provided by publisher.

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