Globe & Mail Review - Let Us Be True

Reviewed by: Jade Colbert

“Why do you lie to me?” is the central question of Erna Buffie’s debut about members of a Winnipeg family shielding one another from painful truths only to have their secrets do unexpected damage later on. The grand reveal in this book is not of any particular lie uncovered – these Buffie discloses one by one, allowing each to steep before moving on to the next – but how Pearl Calder came to be the cantankerous, brusque, overly forthright septuagenarian we meet at novel’s outset. A kaleidoscopic range of viewpoints from the novel’s present (2000) to its far past (1939) slowly display Pearl’s psychological scars from severe abandonment. That sounds heavy, but in execution the prose is restrained, not overwrought. Where many novels about inherited memory can become saggy with characters’ over-reflection, Let Us Be True remains vital, present and taut throughout. A story as starkly beautiful as a prairie landscape.

 

This review originally appeared in the Globe & Mail. To read the original article, click here.

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