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True Story: this genre-defying novel marks the arrival of a powerful new literary voice

Kate Reed Petty



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11 August 2020
Fiction & Literature; Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945); Thriller & suspense
Inventive, electrifying and daring, True Story is a novel like nothing you've ever read before.

After a college party, two boys drive a girl home: drunk and passed out in the back seat. Rumours spread about what they did to her, but later they'll tell the police a different version of events. Alice will never remember what truly happened. Her fracture runs deep, hidden beneath cleverness and wry humour. Nick - a sensitive, misguided boy who stood by - will never forget.

That's just the beginning of this extraordinary journey into memory, fear and self-portrayal. Through university applications, a terrifying abusive relationship, a fateful reckoning with addiction and a final mind-bending twist, Alice and Nick will take on different roles to each other - some real, some invented - until finally, brought face to face once again, the secret of that night is revealed.

Startlingly relevant and enthralling in its brilliance, True Story is by turns a campus novel, psychological thriller, horror story and crime noir, each narrative frame stripping away the fictions we tell about women, men and the very nature of truth. It introduces Kate Reed Petty as a provocative new voice in contemporary fiction.
By:   Kate Reed Petty
Imprint:   riverrun
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 232mm,  Width: 152mm,  Spine: 36mm
Weight:   480g
ISBN:   9781787478459
ISBN 10:   1787478459
Pages:   400
Publication Date:   11 August 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  ELT Advanced ,  Primary
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Kate Reed Petty lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Her fiction and essays have been published online by American Short Fiction, Los Angeles Review of Books Blog, and many others. In addition to fiction, Petty's short films have appeared on Narrative magazine and at the Maryland Film Festival. She is also co-author of the children's graphic novel Chasma Knights, with Boya Sun. Petty graduated from the College of William & Mary, and earned a master of letters in creative writing from the University of St Andrews, Scotland.

Reviews for True Story: this genre-defying novel marks the arrival of a powerful new literary voice

My first book of 2020 is #truestory by @PettyKate and I loved it. Such a smart, powerful, ambitious book, very high concept and so effectively realised. Definitely one to look out for this summer True Story is a brilliant achievement - original, powerful, and playful, flipping formats like a kaleidoscope whose fractals rearrange with each twist until the truth comes into final focus. But beyond its formal daring and assurance, it's a thoroughly engrossing read. I may have held my breath through the whole thing, and I will think about it for a long time. This is a shapeshifting, sneak attack of a novel that leaves a permanent imprint True Story is a superb novel, genuinely frightening, almost unbearably suspenseful and yet, with all that, wonderfully tender and compassionate towards its characters. The writing is exemplary: economical, elegant, searching, precise. It is almost impossible to believe that such a powerful and accomplished book is a first novel. But this isn't just a great first novel, it's an important book for the difficult and highly topical subjects it takes on, bravely and with the kind of care for truth that is all so rare in the current climate. True Story is a spectacular first novel - innovative, convincing, daring, suspenseful, heart-warming, and altogether astonishing. Kate Reed Petty is a force. What a beautifully unified, richly imagined, and skilfully composed work of literary art. I hope it wins the prizes Petty deserves. -- Tim O'Brien, author of * The Things They Carried * Brilliant - a darkly gripping enigma of a book. Petty boldly plays with genre and voice to tell the story of an assault and a rumour that shapes the trajectory of a woman's life. The result is a beautifully prismatic and profound meditation on victims and perpetrators, lies and truth, and above all the dangers and powers of storytelling and what it means to finally claim your voice. -- Mona Awad, author of * Bunny * Kate Reed Petty is such a gifted writer that she can make even a college application essay feel utterly heartbreaking. And in True Story, she has given us a riveting and totally innovative novel about the power of lies to shape the truth, a book built like an elaborate jigsaw puzzle whose picture becomes thrillingly clear only after you've locked in the very last piece. -- Nathan Hill, author of * The Nix * I literally cannot believe this book exists. A mind-blowing page-turning un-put-downable heartwarming empathetic formally inventive horror suspense thriller, with a life-affirming and timely feminist message? What? This would be an amazing fifteenth novel for a person to have written and it is Kate Reed Petty's first one. What an incredible talent! -- Elif Batuman

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