Sunday, March 24, 2019

"The Liar's Child"

Carla Buckley is the author of The Good Goodbye, The Deepest Secret, Invisible, and The Things That Keep Us Here, which was nominated for a Thriller Award as a best first novel and the Ohioana Book Award for fiction. She is a graduate of Oberlin College and the Wharton School of Business, and lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with her husband and three children.

Buckley applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, The Liar's Child, and reported the following:
The Liar's Child is told from the perspectives of four narrators, and page 69 finds us hearing from Sara, the novel’s main protagonist. We’re at the beginning of Chapter 12, and Sara’s up to something. So far, we’ve learned that Sara (which isn’t her real name) is a reluctant participant in the federal Witness Protection program for crimes as yet unnamed. She’s been driven across the country, dropped at a seedy apartment building on the North Carolina coast, and given a job cleaning beach rentals. Right now, it’s late, and Sara’s been waiting for the rest of the apartment residents to settle down for the night. We follow her as she quietly sneaks down to the courtyard, and over to her own car. She’s brought tools with her, and goes to work.
Sara waited for the people working the third shift to drift across the courtyard to their cars and drive away before she quietly let herself out of her apartment. It was just before midnight. The partiers were still out. She figured she had maybe an hour before they returned, tires squealing and music blaring out of car windows, searching for anything that might extend the party. The last thing Sara wanted was some amped-up drunk stumbling over and calling out, Hey, baby.
This scene captures Sara’s central conflicts—the one she knows about (chafing at the federal restrictions she’s under) and the one she doesn’t know about (the children who live in the apartment next door, who are about to make an appearance.) It reveals her ability to focus on the task at hand, her sheer grit and determination in achieving her goals, and hints at her vulnerability—the parts of herself she ignores and therefore doesn’t quite understand. She’s a keen observer of other people, but she never asks herself the same hard questions. Consequently, we wonder at her reliability as a narrator. How can we trust someone who can’t see the entire picture?
Visit Carla Buckley's website.

--Marshal Zeringue