Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Friday, October 02, 2021

As much as I enjoy much of Ricky Gervais‘ work, I’m going to pass on his new release, The Invention of Lying. I learned my lesson when I got burned by Ghost Town

The premise for Lying certainly sounds intriguing, though:

A comedy set in a world where no one has ever lied, until a writer seizes the opportunity for personal gain.

It also sounds familiar. To me, at least. Because I’m probably one of the few who, about 15 years ago, picked up an obscure little book called “City of Truth” by James Morrow. Here’s the premise behind that work of fiction:

Morrow’s nearly perfect satiric novella takes place in the dystopia of Veritas, where everyone tells the truth or faces harsh punishment — which Jack Sperry risks when he learns that his son Toby has a fatal disease, and that by lying to him, he may enable Toby’s cure.

Not a perfect match, but really, really close. The Amazon synopsis makes “City” sound darker than it is. From my recollection (and I probably still have a copy, buried somewhere deep in storage), it was strong on the black comedy, and hard to take entirely seriously. It wasn’t a great piece of work, but it was good enough to stick in my memory despite only one or two readings.

I don’t see Morrow’s name anywhere in the credits for “Lying”. I suppose Gervais and his partners came up with the idea independently. But the similarities with Veritas are strong. Maybe if the movie had followed the book more closely, it wouldn’t be getting panned by critics right now as being half-baked. Or was that unavoidable, to dodge paying Morrow anything for the inspiration?

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 10/02/2021 09:05 AM
Category: Creative, Movies, Publishing
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