The Liar’s Dictionary by Eley Williams
Might contain spoilers.
A disappointing book. It’s funny and charming at times. The obsession with word definitions seems cute and interesting at first, but it quickly becomes tiresome. After the first third, I found my eyes glazing over every time they cropped up.
The plot seems to be leading somewhere, but it never does. There is no resonance between the two protagonists; they’re simply separate stories told in parallel, and when it comes to Peter Winceworth, I frankly neither care about him (beyond a mild distaste, after the disturbing assault on the pelican) nor understand Sophia. The final act—the explosion, the threat, the revelations about Sophia and Frasham, the orgy, the £700 and the chess piece—just seems like a succession of random events. I don’t understand the point of any of it.
The cover’s split design does an excellent job of evoking old publications. It’s very well done. I was amused to see Bembo Std used as the typeface for the book too.