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A Version of the Truth is a lyrical, wise, and mesmerizing story about love, learning, friendship, rare birds and other forces of nature.
Set in the wilds of Topanga Canyon, the story is narrated by Cassie Shaw, a nature lover with innate intelligence and charm who reinvents herself with unexpected consequences.
Much like Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion, Cassie has an unhappy past and is relegated to a life beneath her, but her spirit is uplifted in the outdoors. The eerie, ghostlike call of presumed extinct birds in a secret clearing, the sound of wind in the trees, the harmony of a world without people, all give Cassie a sense of calm. But everywhere else, life is tough. Her mother believes in Big Foot. Her wisecracking but beloved African Grey parrot is a drama queen. And at age thirty, a widow without a college degree, Cassie desperately needs to earn a living, which is why, against all her principles, she lies on her resume for an office job at an elite university, making up facts about herself, creating the person she wants to be.
Her new boss is the magnetic Professor William Conner, an expert in animal behavior who recognizes the intelligence behind Cassie’s bogus resume. Soon, under his charismatic tutelage, Cassie carefully begins her personal transformation, all the while still visiting her secret clearing and her strange, iconic birds. But her future is teetering on one unbearable truth, and Cassie’s masquerade is about to come undone--in a chain of events that will transform her life and the lives of those around her--forever.
A Version of the Truth is honest, funny and uplifting--a modern, provocative twist on the theme of appearance versus reality and the resulting mysteries, difficulties and disadvantages of telling the truth.
Some women shop. Some eat. Dora cures the blues by bingeing on books-reading one after another, from Flaubert to bodice rippers, for hours and days on end. In this wickedly funny and sexy literary debut, we meet the beguiling, beautiful Dora, whose unique voice combines a wry wit and vulnerability as she navigates the road between reality and fiction.
Dora, named after Eudora Welty, is an indiscriminate book junkie whose life has fallen apart-her career, her marriage, and finally her self-esteem. All she has left is her love of literature, and the book benders she relied on as a child. Ever since her larger-than-life father wandered away and her book-loving, alcoholic mother was left with two young daughters, Dora and her sister, Virginia, have clung to each other, enduring a childhood filled with literary pilgrimages instead of summer vacations. Somewhere along the way Virginia made the leap into the real world. But Dora isn't quite there yet. Now she's coping with a painful separation from her husband, scraping the bottom of a dwindling inheritance, and attracted to a seductive book-seller who seems to embody all that literature has to offer-intelligent ideas, romance, and an escape from her problems.
Joining Dora in her odyssey is an elderly society hair-brusher, a heartbroken young girl, a hilarious off-the-wall female teamster, and Dora's mother, now on the wagon, trying to make amends. Along the way Dora faces some powerful choices. Between two irresistible men. Between idleness and work. And most of all between the joy of well-chosen words and the untidiness of real people and real life.