One Of Us Is Lying
Sally Cline (2013) ISBN: 978-0957307933
One of Us is Lying is a volume of nuanced and largely linked tales concerned with love, loss, longing and betrayal. Sally Cline sees darkness and suffering beneath polished surfaces and glittering conversations. Several of the stories appear domestic with an outward harmony but misery or even humiliation lurk quietly behind suburban facades. However the bold passionate writing reminds readers of historic violence and ancient fears as well as the small disturbances of contemporary life.
In the linked stories Sally Cline examines intertwined and complex relationships between her characters over a number of years. A secondary character in one story may become the central character in another.
The stand-alone fictions have different protagonists but as lives and tales weave in and out there are subtle echoes and symbols that seem to edge towards stories already linked.
The settings roam from quiet Greek villages, through the University cities of Oxford and Cambridge, into the bustling present of Halifax in Nova Scotia back into the past of Nazi Germany.
The actions take place in or around Scottish mountains, old fashioned mental asylums, Cretan cafes, and slow moving trains. Conflict thrives in an exotic art gallery, a Harley Street abortion clinic, an old people’s home and on several beaches.
The characters are women and men, gay, straight, married, single, and every age from childhood to the 80s. We see children everywhere absorbed in family life. We see elderly clients shut away in isolated homes. Characters include railway passengers, celebrated lawyers and musicians, care home workers, librarians, artists, hospital staff, writers, private psychiatrists, amateur photographers, and professional journalists. Couples are examined and motherhood assessed.
There is warmth and wit in the writing. Several of the stories generate a feeling of unease where there is desolation and dread but never dullness. All the stories show an intense focus on rhythm and three very short tales could be read as prose poetry.
What reviewers have said:
‘A charming collection of darkly funny and melancholy stories, mingling characters and themes, shifting the reader through tender layers of female experience.’
‘A beguiling collection of powerful stories. Be careful as you turn the page: it can be unexpectedly dark on the other side.’
‘Cline has a playful and inventive relationship with language, and a sophisticated ripple of humour runs through this remarkable and original collection.’
‘Slyly funny and acute.’
About the Author
Sally Cline, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Royal Literary Fund Advisory Fellow, is a well established biographer and short fiction writer, with a reputation built on 13 well reviewed books. These include the award winning biography Zelda Fitzgerald Her Voice in Paradise about Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald, and Radclyffe Hall: A Woman Called John (shortlisted for a LAMBDA award) Her latest biography Dashiell Hammett: Man of Mystery will be published in May 2013 by Arcade USA. and her biographical study of Lillian Hellman will be published by Golden Books.
One of Us is Lying is Sally Cline’s first volume of selected short stories but many of them have already been published in literary magazines and anthologies. Her story The Passenger won a BBC prize, her story Cafe Memorial won a Raconteur prize, and several of the other stories in this volume have won Arts Council awards or been shortlisted for the Asham Fiction Prize. The radio play The Passenger in Pink which concludes One Of Us is Lying is a development and extension of the lead story The Passenger. The play was submitted to the London Arts Board /LPC New London Radio Playwriting Festival and was Highly Commended.
Sally Cline is currently co-Series Editor of Bloomsbury’s 9 volume set of books about different genres of writing. She has co-authored (with Carole Angier) volume 1 the first stand-alone book on Life Writing in the UK and co-authored (with Midge Gillies) volume 3 on Literary Non-Fiction. Sally who is currently a Gold Dust Mentoring Programme judge and mentor, has held a Hawthornden Fellowship, been Director of the Royal Literary Fund’s Writers Pool, won the Hoskin Houses Trust Fellowship for a Woman Writer over 40, and for several years was judge and mentor for the Arts Council’s Escalator new writing programme, For many years until recently she has been Writer in Residence at Anglia Ruskin University, in Cambridge where she was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters for her writing internationally. Previously she taught at Cambridge University.