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on January 25, 2014
The Truth was a fun light read, though I cannot help but be a little disappointed it wasn't a bit deeper though. It didn't dig into the issues just a little bit more. It felt like it just skimmed over everything so.

The book started off and I was really confused as to what it would be about. It was kind of boring with Mabbut up working on his oil rig story thing. I almost stopped reading it as it was just not that good. Then he gets the job of writing about Melville, who does not give interviews or anything of the sort. He is the golden boy humanitarian who many people look up to. The company offering Mabbut money to write about Melville wants to know if he really is as good as everyone thinks he is. Does he have a dark past? What makes up Melville?

Mabbut knows he has to be sneaky to try and get more info from Melville. He travels to India where Melville is supposed to be, in search of him. He quickly finds him and the two, after a little bit of a rocky start, hit it off and travel a bit together. Melville shows Mabbut some things that are going on in the area and it was interesting. Here is where I wish it would have gone a bit more into the issues. For example Mabbut thinks about the people who live in the small village and whether we should just let them live how they have been living, or should we bring some modern day things in to their village. If the modern day things would be better, help people, should we? Or should we just leave them be? Things like that are interesting. It was really just two sentences in the book, when I would have enjoyed more discussion about things like that. It started to make me think about some of the grey areas, but since it never really went anywhere or even went into the grey areas very much I just pushed it aside.

Then I was kind of sad by the end of the book. For the most part I felt like I should be out there doing more, but then the end...it is just like why bother. I just was a bit disheartening to find out the truth. Maybe that is the way it is, but I like to believe the dream instead.

Overall a fun, light read, but was a little disappointed it didn't go deeper.

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on February 3, 2013
Michael Palin novelist is a very different proposition from that of zany Python or affable world traveler. As with his first book, Hemingway's Chair, the fictional format provides Palin with the opportunity to explore more serious passions and concerns in greater depth than those he touches upon in his documentaries and travelogues. And as with Hemingway's Chair, The Truth is an exploration of heroism, both the idolatry of hero figures, and the personal heroism that lies within us all. In Hemingway, it was the worship of the famous writer by an otherwise nondescript postal worker that fueled the plot. The Truth in contrast is the journey by a once idealistic investigative journalist, now reduced to writing compromised corporate hagiographies, to find the real story behind the world famous environmental activist Hamish Melville, a sort of John Pilger like guru figure for the dispossessed and disenfranchised peoples of the Third World, discovering in the process just how often the reality fails to match the myth when it comes to our heroes. There was a nice, somewhat tacked on twist at the end and Palin's belief in the essential goodness of people and the possibility of redemption and renewal in life shines through. Like a fine wine, Michael Palin has matured in his writing over the years, combining his well documented experiences and viewpoints to craft a well written, engaging and optimistic story of how the political is the personal, and that being true to oneself makes it possible to find the bigger truths about the world and people around us.
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on February 26, 2015
Well i love Michael Palin and have watched and read everything nearly that he has done, including enjoying his diary volumes and his Hemingway's Chair, previous novel which was excellent.
This Novel has some really good parts, the writing is fine, and the messages i'm okay with full of illusions that people give off of who they are. But, somehow it just didn't quite flow together as well as other works, i probably expected a bit more. But, still a good enjoyable enough read overall.
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on January 5, 2014
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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on January 21, 2015
Excellent story, very well written. Palin's experience as a world traveler raelly helps here. I was expecting a comedy, he's a Python after all, but really happy with the story. Real fiction, none of that bungling Englishman stuff you normally get from the Pythons. Highly recommended.
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on February 22, 2013
The truth is tricky business - and Michael Palin proves it. His story invokes current international issues and dilemmas and then twists and turns with unexpected developments along the way. The story is compelling and entertaining and thought provoking and takes place, as one would expect of Palin, in several different international locations. A good book to take along on a trip :-)
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on June 16, 2013
I have visited the area in which this novel is based , so can have a mental picture of the villages and fauna and flora. Also having an understanding of some of the ruthless methods undertaken by corporations to exploit the Adivasi I believe Michael Palin also has a working knowledge on the topic of which he writes.
Having said that I found the writing , for me at least, lacking depth although the story line was believable.
The background tale of family relationships was an added extra that made the central character more believable and therefore the tale more entertaining.
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on February 20, 2014
Didn't expect such a fine fiction book from Palin. Thoroughly enjoyable, different, and interesting with some twists to keep you guessing. Well written. Going to look for his other books now and hope he writes more fiction.
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on January 10, 2013
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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on April 24, 2017
palin is good
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