Would I Lie to You?

Aliya Ali-Afzal. Grand Central, $17.99 trade paper (480p) ISBN 978-1-5387-5502-0
Ali-Afzal’s solid debut follows an English Pakistani woman who is desperate to fit into her affluent Wimbledon neighborhood. Over the past few years, Faiza Saunders has secretly blown through her family’s £75,000 emergency fund with a series of “shorthand” purchases meant to show she’s a “yummy mummy,” that her three kids belong with their peers, and that her marriage is enviable. When her husband, Tom, loses his job, Faiza is convinced he will leave if she tells him about the depleted fund, and she has a matter of weeks to replenish it through whatever means necessary. As the lies snowball, so does the anxiety. At the heart of the story are the complicated issues Faiza deals with: a desire to provide her children with a life free of the racism she endured, her struggle to code switch to please others, and the real discord between her and her husband (“For Tom, money was utility and security. For me, it was a solution to all kinds of problems”). While Ali-Afzal makes this overlong by a few too many redundant scenes involving the central dilemma, she ably conveys how money has become a taboo subject for the couple. Chock-full of understandable bad decisions, this page-turner is sure to get readers talking. Agent: Jenny Bent, the Bent Agency. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 11/24/2021
Release date: 02/22/2022
Genre: Fiction
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