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The Lie and How We Told It
Tommi Parrish

In Tommi Parrish's sophomore book, an unexpected meeting between two old friends in a grocery-store checkout lane turns into a boozy, nightlong bull session. Tim is soon to marry his fiancée, but sheepishly wants to get something off his chest beforehand, as he prompts his friend Cleary not only to reminisce about the good old days, but also to dissect her past heartbreaks and bisexuality.

Like the self-confident Cleary, Parrish bears witness to the immaturity, toxicity and "colourless" quality of straight masculinity, as the ground between the two friends subtly, perplexingly shifts (Parrish begins the book in their native Australia, but gradually changes the scene to their current home of Montreal). The arc of Tim and Cleary's conversation over the course of the night is shaped with the elegance of good playwriting, but Parrish's painted art is just as impressive, recreating the pace and glow of a lazy summer evening with perfect modulation and emulating the awkward mass of our bodies with sculptural agility.

Parrish's pendulous arms, tiny heads, hulking torsos and bulbous proboscises may be partly Bob's Burgers, but they're more Henry Moore.

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