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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truth - What is Truth?
From page 1 I felt warmly enveloped by the tenor of the book. Sympathetic characters lives were opened up showing real people with flaws and goodness combined. The crux of the book is ultimately about truth as a concept. How do we know what is true? Can we believe all that we read, hear or see via the media? Indeed even when confronted with real living people can we...
Published on August 19, 2012 by RustyB

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An ironic title?
Michael Palin's new novel "The Truth" is nominally about the rape of indigenous populations by rapacious international corporations for the natural resources that abound in the third world.

What it really is about is lies. The lies we tell each other. The lies we tell ourselves. The lies that hide inside the "truth." It is also about betrayal and redemption,...
Published 17 months ago by Alan Dorfman


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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An ironic title?, July 28, 2013
This review is from: The Truth: A Novel (Hardcover)
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Michael Palin's new novel "The Truth" is nominally about the rape of indigenous populations by rapacious international corporations for the natural resources that abound in the third world.

What it really is about is lies. The lies we tell each other. The lies we tell ourselves. The lies that hide inside the "truth." It is also about betrayal and redemption, heroes and villains and the shifting morality that differentiate one from the other.

"The Truth" was a difficult book for me to get into because its anti-hero central character, named Keith Mabbut, was a second rate writer, father, husband and human being that I did not like at all. Once the premise of the story has been over explained in Part 1 and Mabbut becomes less whiny and self-involved in Part 2, I began to care about the story line and this anti-hero.

Needless to say this is a novel where nothing and no one is what they seem and Mabbut is over his head trying to make sense of it all. I felt there were too many instances of deus ex machina to move the story along and too much expository writing.

Mabbut remains second rate throughout but only because the ancillary characters around him are at even lower levels of humanity that he seems improved. What's worse is that the novel ends with his character little changed by what he has been through. He makes changes to his life but he is still the same guy I didn't like in Part 1 only he has become more self-satisfied than whiny.

The intricate plotting and important environmental themes raise "The Truth" above the level of a beach read. They give it more substance than the average novel. But things come too easily for Keith Mabbut. Even his future is delivered to the front door. And that's the author as puppet master territory - not a place I like spending my reading time.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Perception is Deception, that's The Truth, October 6, 2012
This review is from: The Truth (Hardcover)
Perception is deception in Michael Palin's second novel, The Truth. The story is slow to take off, but Palin's ability to transport his audience to the places depicted in his book is amazing.

Keith Mabbut, the main character, is dull which makes the first few chapters a bit of a trudge through. When Mabbut does make the journey to India to catch up with Hamish Melville the story takes flight.

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; and we must make the journey of self discovery and revelation with Mabbut.

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.

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.

For Mabbut the old adage, "If it sounds too good to be true, then it is," is The Truth.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truth - What is Truth?, August 19, 2012
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This review is from: The Truth (Kindle Edition)
From page 1 I felt warmly enveloped by the tenor of the book. Sympathetic characters lives were opened up showing real people with flaws and goodness combined. The crux of the book is ultimately about truth as a concept. How do we know what is true? Can we believe all that we read, hear or see via the media? Indeed even when confronted with real living people can we believe who they say they are? Palin is a person I believe to be genuinely concerned with people, their plight in a world beyond their individual control. He seeks to show us that we all need to rise above the greed of companies and governments. Truth and freedom cannot be the realm of just a few warriors but must be the concern of everyone who wants a better world to live in. Michael Palin has written a well thought out novel, the best medium for conveying ideas. He has chosen a topic dear to his heart as a well travelled world observer. Truth delivers a confronting message in a warm and fuzzy way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A serious book from a guy known for not being serious, October 26, 2013
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John Martin (Las Vegas Nevada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Truth: A Novel (Hardcover)
When I first picked up The Truth by Michael Palin of the Monty Python group I expected it to be funny if not outrageous. But in fact it is quite a serious book about how hard it is to find truth in life situations. The main plot involved a journalist who is hired to write a book about a noted environmentalist. The journalist goes to India, finds his quarry and spends time with him as he works to limit the damage being done to the enviornment by a company engaged in producing aluminum. A number of side plots fill the book including the journalist's relationship with his soon to be ex wife and his daughter. The book company also has devioius reasons for wanting the book to be written. In the last part of the book stunning revelations show how hard it is to find truth in life. Finally the environmentalist is shown to also have flaws. The book also denotes the sleeziness of the publishing industry which focuses on profit over truth.

i give it four stars because I think most people will benefit from reading it. The destruction of the enviornment by greedly corporations is not new and there are no insights as to how this process mighyt be stopped. There is some sense of life in India among rural people and the question of what is right, to let them retain their traditional way of living or try to improve them while at the same time destroying thier culture,
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Proof They DO Still Make 'Em Like That, January 5, 2014
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This review is from: The Truth: A Novel (Hardcover)
Once upon a time, when the populace still knew how to read and we were a society of readers instead of texters, Tweeters, and video-game-junkies, we knew that stories have an ebb and flow, we knew that not every story had to be Life-Changingly-Great to repay the reading. Thankfully, Michael Palin is among those who have not forgotten those basic precepts.

THE TRUTH is an impeccable gem of a tale that focuses a lot of large questions through a small prism (his protagonist, writer Keith Mabbut, who is too bemused by and just-out-of-step with modern life to comfortably find his place within it). Without ever preaching, Mr. Palin examines Idealism vs. Pragmatism, the increasing evils of interconnected big businesses -- as when publishers, swallowed whole by rapacious conglomerates, begin setting their agendas to serve the needs of the larger companies within the corporate whole -- the many threats to the planetary ecosystem and the remaining tribal cultures inhabiting its most remote locales, the vulnerabilities of the human heart, and the struggle that emerges because the right thing to do is often not the easiest thing to do. That by the final page Palin has offered no big, apocalyptic solutions is a harkening back to The Good Old Days of fiction, before everything started getting lumped together as "entertainment," before authors started shaping the climaxes of their stories with scenes created to offer lots of CGI possibilities that will look great on the movie screen when Hollywood inevitably comes calling with that fat movie deal.

Everyone is entitled to an opinion of their own, and those who find this book too slow, too small in scope, or too opaque are welcome to be critical -- they didn't get their money's worth, and they're welcome to say so. My opinion is: if you yearn for those bygone years when characters were treated as more than one-dimensional video-game-dopplegangers and were allowed to learn new lessons and change over the course of a story, when it was permissable to have lulls in the action to make the inevitable drive toward the climax even more exciting, and when it was acceptable for authors with something to say to gently prod their audience, rather than clobber them over the head with a capital-M Message, then THE TRUTH is well worth buying, reading, savoring.

The Truth, in reading these reviews as well as in Mr. Palin's novel, is that everyone has his or her own "truth." That is hardly news to most of us, but it's good to occasionally be served up a reminder, and the author has admirably succeeded in doing that.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars slow start but gets better, November 2, 2013
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slow start but eventually became a page turner; there are some good scenes in india and some well developed characters; the main character could use some improvement though
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What is Truth?, August 15, 2013
This review is from: The Truth: A Novel (Hardcover)
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My first thought after finishing this book was to wonder why the modern world cannot accept real heroes--why must everyone be flawed, and sometimes heroically so. We are saturated with comic book movies that explore the nature of superhuman abilities, but we have little tolerance (at least in popular cinema) for exploration of real human strengths and weaknesses. Mr. Palin's tale seems to be saying that despite human weakness and imperfection, we do best to simply embrace what is good and right. I was gratified to find that this work contains characters who admit to mistakes and who are trying to improve themselves in a moral sense.

"The Truth" is an exploration of motive and intent both hidden and overt. What drives our inner decisions? Which perspective on the world is "right"? Is it a sound strategy to be unselfish even when we know that our unselfish natures will likely be abused by immoral and bad actors? Is life a prisoner's dilemma where those who cheat will naturally derive the biggest rewards? Or is happiness found in placing the needs of others before our own? How open should we be regarding our motives? Should we freely disclose our deep motivations only with spouse? with family? with friends? with strangers? Is the better strategy to hold our hopes and dreams, our motivations, strictly confidential or is the best strategy to share openly and take what comes?

I've always enjoyed Mr. Palin's travelogues--he is portrayed as unfailingly kind and polite to everyone he encounters on his travels, even when they are naughty (in his words). I couldn't help but think that perhaps Mr. Palin wrote a bit of himself into the novel, that perhaps the real Mr. Palin is not quite the happy traveler presented by the BBC. I am confident that I would not believe negative press about Mr. Palin because I think his work is generally uplifting and honest; because I don't know Mr. Palin, I have constructed a persona for him--a likeable friend to all. Likewise, this novel says much about how we construct a world view that makes us feel good--we don't focus on where our cheap consumer products originate or what kinds of horrors may or may not be inflicted to allow us to enjoy this modern world.

Frankly, any book that leaves you pondering and thinking about life as does "The Truth" is worth your time to read. I recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well-writtten, engaging novel, August 8, 2013
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This review is from: The Truth: A Novel (Hardcover)
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I'm a fan of Michael Palin's comedy, but I was unsure what to expect from this novel, the first of his I have read. The good news is that Palin has an engaging prose style and, though I wasn't immediately sucked in to the story, at its climax, this book was a page-turner for me. The ending, however, came a little too quickly for me and felt a tad contrived. Ultimately, though, the book and its characters have stuck with me, the sure sign of good writing.

One note: though the book has a wry tone, it is not a comedic novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Easy holiday read - but a bit disappointing, January 10, 2013
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This review is from: The Truth (Kindle Edition)
A good holiday read - but a bit predictable. All the threads came together a little too conveniently at the end which was a little disappointing. Raises some interesting questions about the politics of corporate social responsibility (less powerful communities vs big corporations) but there is nothing new. As I said, its a good read but it's not a book that you think about much once you've read it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good if patchy read, November 6, 2012
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This review is from: The Truth (Kindle Edition)
Shaky start settles into an engrossing narrative for the bulk of he book which takes a less convincing turn at the finish.
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The Truth: A Novel
The Truth: A Novel by Michael Palin (Hardcover - August 13, 2013)
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