Review: Would I Lie To You? by Aliya Azi-Afzal

 

Title: Would I Lie To You?

Author: Aliya Ali-Afzal

Published: 6th January 2021, Head of Zeus

Status: Read January 2021 courtesy HarperCollins UK/Netgalley

+++++++

My Thoughts:

 

“At first, I thought it must be a mistake, that I was reading the statements incorrectly. I ran my nail across the line, following the string of numbers with my fingertip. However many times I checked it though, the figure remained the same.”

Would I Lie To You? is a sharply observed, entertaining and thoughtful novel from Aliya Ali-Afzal.

When Faiza’s husband, Tom, is unexpectedly retrenched from his high paying banking job, neither believe he will be unemployed for long. Thankfully Tom’s redundancy payment will provide them with a six week buffer and if needed, Tom suggests, they can always draw from their ’emergency’ fund. The mention of their nest egg makes Faiza uncomfortable, she’s dipped into the account a time or two over the years. Raising a family in London is expensive, and fitting in is important, especially when, as a brown skinned, Pakistani Muslim, Faiza stands out among the other mothers at the gate of her children’s private school. Faiza is aghast when she checks the bank balance and realises that there is nothing left of their savings, she can’t possibly admit to her fiscally responsible husband that she has unintentionally frittered away £75,000, and so she lies.  Now Faiza has six weeks to put things right, but as her desperation grows so do the lies she has to tell, threatening to destroy everything she is trying to protect.

Some creative accounting and questionable decisions allows Faiza to juggle each immediate crisis, but repeatedly makes her overall predicament worse. It’s inevitable her lies will eventually be found out, and the anticipation of the consequences, not just for Faiza but also others, creates a genuine sense of tension in Would I Lie To You?. There are several themes and subplots that add to the drama too, including prejudice, an alleged theft, depression, an acute illness, and workplace sexual harassment. It’s a lot really, verging on too much at times, but I think readers will find elements to relate to, and there are lighter moments that provide needed warmth and  humour.

Despite Faiza’s poor decision making, her desire to assure her family’s well being is always what’s most important to her and I empathised with her concerns about her husband, her children, and her ageing parents. As the story progresses Ali-Azful reveals how Faiza’s sensitivity to her lower class background and her parent’s disagreements about finances feeds into her uncomfortable relationship with status and money, while her insecurities about acceptance given her racial and cultural background, are often reinforced by micro-aggressions among her, mostly white, social group. Though I can’t directly relate to Faiza’s issues on these matters (given I’m white and broke, with no status to speak of), I could understand how they influenced her decisions, which made Faiza a more sympathetic character who I really grew to like.

++++++

Available from HarperCollins UK

Or from your preferred retailer via

Booko I Book Depository I HiveUK I Amazon

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon | book'd out
  2. Emma
    Jan 17, 2022 @ 18:32:45

    I have o say the cover of this book made me think it wouldn’t be for me but with your review I think it might be. Going to check out.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  3. harvee
    Jan 18, 2022 @ 00:07:00

    What an intriguing novel, household management, marriage, culture, social class, traditions, all in one book.

    Like

    Reply

I want to know what you think! Your comments are appreciated.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s