Perception is deception in Michael Palin’s second novel, The Truth.
No one is seen in the same light you’ve perceived them in by the time you’ve read the last page. All the characters transition in one way or another.
For some the transition is a positive one and for others it is negative. The Truth is a reminder that no one deserves to be put on a pedestal, because we’re all human, prone to mistakes.
Keith Mabbut, an everyman who has come upon hard times with his wife and family and career, is the eyes of the book. We see all others through him. His view, and consequently ours, is a flawed one.
Mabbut is a journalist who seems to make more money doing PR jobs for oil companies than his previous greatness as an investigative reporter, but then again, he burned his bridges. His big break comes when Urgent Books offers him a sweet deal to write a book about the elusive environmental activist, Hamish Melville.
Calling on his old skills of investigative journalism, Mabbott tracks down Melville and gains access to Melville’s world, a world that is very closely connected to Mabbut’s.
The Truth, although a book of fiction, is a reminder that the world of big companies and big business is self-serving and dismissive of do-gooders and whistleblowers.
For Mabbut the old adage, “If it sounds too good to be true, then it is,” is The Truth.