Tell Me Everything

Sarah Salway, Author . Ballantine $12.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-345-48100-9

In Salway's second novel (after The ABCs of Love ), much of Molly Drayton's past is held until the end of the narrative. A scandal involving untoward behavior by her father has landed the unhappily overweight Molly without money or connections in an out-of-the-way English suburb. A dirty old man, stationer Mr. Roberts, takes stern pity on her and offers Molly a room above his shop in exchange for some shelving work, albeit with "conditions." The latter include climbing a ladder and spinning stories about her life while Mr. Roberts gropes her ample calves. Molly obliges with more and more elaborate dissembling, which will catch up with her just as she manages to make a few friends in the neighborhood: Miranda, the similarly weight-battling haircutter across the street whose habit of trading compliments with Molly is suspect; attractive, sweet, delusional Tim, who thinks he's a secret agent; and lonely-hearts librarian Liz, who urges Molly to read The Story of O to build character. Salway's characters are deeply estranged from the mainstream and too calculating to be sympathetic, except perhaps Mr. Roberts, married to a Frenchwoman whose attractiveness overtaxes his poor, dirty heart. Salway's book is a frustrating study in the intimate layering of deception. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 08/07/2006
Release date: 11/01/2006
Open Ebook - 165 pages - 978-0-307-48067-5
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