Inventive, electrifying and daring, True Story is a novel like nothing you've ever read before.
*One of Entertainment Weekly's top five reads of the summer*
'A mind-blowing page-turning un-put-downable heartwarming empathetic formally inventive horror suspense thriller, with a life-affirming and timely feminist message' Elif Batuman, author of The Idiot
'This debut novel unfolds like a mystery, flitting between genres to weave an inventive tale' Buzzfeed (29 Summer books you wont be able to put down)
After a college party, two boys drive a girl home: drunk and passed out in the back seat. Rumours spread about what they did to her, but later they'll tell the police a different version of events. Alice will never remember what truly happened. Her fracture runs deep, hidden beneath cleverness and wry humour. Nick - a sensitive, misguided boy who stood by - will never forget.
That's just the beginning of this extraordinary journey into memory, fear and self-portrayal. Through university applications, a terrifying abusive relationship, a fateful reckoning with addiction and a final mind-bending twist, Alice and Nick will take on different roles to each other - some real, some invented - until finally, brought face to face once again, the secret of that night is revealed.
Startlingly relevant and enthralling in its brilliance, True Story is by turns a campus novel, psychological thriller, horror story and crime noir, each narrative frame stripping away the fictions we tell about women, men and the very nature of truth. It introduces Kate Reed Petty as a provocative new voice in contemporary fiction.
Kate Reed Petty lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Her work has been published by Electric Literature, American Short Fiction, Los Angeles Review of Books Blog, and many others, and her short films have appeared on Narrative magazine and at the Maryland Film Festival. She is also co-author of the children's graphic novel Chasma Knights, with Boya Sun. Petty graduated from the College of William & Mary, and earned Kate and she holds a master of letters in fiction writing from the University of St Andrews, Scotland.
I literally cannot believe this book exists. A mind-blowing page-turning un-put-downable heartwarming empathetic formally inventive horror suspense thriller, with a life-affirming and timely feminist message? What? This would be an amazing fifteenth novel for a person to have written and it is Kate Reed Petty's first one. What an incredible talent!
Kate Reed Petty is such a gifted writer that she can make even a college application essay feel utterly heartbreaking. And in True Story, she has given us a riveting and totally innovative novel about the power of lies to shape the truth, a book built like an elaborate jigsaw puzzle whose picture becomes thrillingly clear only after you've locked in the very last piece.
The Nix - Nathan Hill, author of
Brilliant - a darkly gripping enigma of a book. Petty boldly plays with genre and voice to tell the story of an assault and a rumour that shapes the trajectory of a woman's life. The result is a beautifully prismatic and profound meditation on victims and perpetrators, lies and truth, and above all the dangers and powers of storytelling and what it means to finally claim your voice.
Bunny - Mona Awad, author of
True Story is a spectacular first novel - innovative, convincing, daring, suspenseful, heart-warming, and altogether astonishing. Kate Reed Petty is a force. What a beautifully unified, richly imagined, and skilfully composed work of literary art. I hope it wins the prizes Petty deserves.
The Things They Carried - Tim O'Brien, author of
True Story is a superb novel, genuinely frightening, almost unbearably suspenseful and yet, with all that, wonderfully tender and compassionate towards its characters. The writing is exemplary: economical, elegant, searching, precise. It is almost impossible to believe that such a powerful and accomplished book is a first novel. But this isn't just a great first novel, it's an important book for the difficult and highly topical subjects it takes on, bravely and with the kind of care for truth that is all so rare in the current climate.
True Story is a brilliant achievement - original, powerful, and playful, flipping formats like a kaleidoscope whose fractals rearrange with each twist until the truth comes into final focus. But beyond its formal daring and assurance, it's a thoroughly engrossing read. I may have held my breath through the whole thing, and I will think about it for a long time. This is a shapeshifting, sneak attack of a novel that leaves a permanent imprint
My first book of 2020 is #truestory by @PettyKate and I loved it. Such a smart, powerful, ambitious book, very high concept and so effectively realised. Definitely one to look out for this summer
True Story is where our obsession with true-life crime meets page-turner.
Stylist *BEST SUMMER READS FOR 2020*
One of the most creative novels I've read. It's hard to believe it's a debut: the writing is confident and assured and draws the reader in.
Inventive and readable, it asks questions about truth and what defines us.
Plays constantly with genre while weaving an addictive, perfectly balanced tale about a high school lacrosse party that ends in an accusation of sexual assault . . .[T]he work that Kate Reed Petty's powerful and haunting debut most resembles is not another novel but Michaela Coel's incendiary TV series I May Destroy You.
This debut novel about memory and truth is disturbing and thought-provoking.
Sunday Express (S Mag)
A powerful and thought-provoking examination of how the manipulation of stories can shape whole lives.