Page 45 Review by Stephen
"That friendship was my whole world once."
Oh how they do!
Bar-staff wisdom, there: never underestimate it. They observe everything and everyone - except me when I'm attempting to buy a round on a heaving Saturday night. It's those propping up that bar whose advice you should be wary of.
Cleary and Tim haven't seen each other in years, but bump into each other again because Cleary is working at the local supermarket's check-out and Tim has brought some produce to buy.
Uncommitted small talk ensues then Tim signals his intention to leave, but Cleary thinks she should give it a go: she finishes in 5, and she says they should catch up. Tim's caught, as startled as a deer in her headlights, and automatically agrees. Outside, he waits for her. Reveries or perhaps memories seep in.
And then, when they walk and talk, it's far from a meeting of minds.
Yes, it's going to be awkward. Parrish does "awkward" ever so well, as you shall see. In fact, why don't we start again?
THE LIE AND HOW WE TOLD IT is an essay in awkward: awkward bodies, uncomfortable environments, and a mis-meeting of minds engaged elsewhere or else-when; they're certainly no longer on the same wavelength, if they ever were.
The figures are hulking, extended, exceptionally physical and when one pushes someone else away literally or metaphorically, they do with a palpable, tangible physicality.
The bar scenes are visually, colourfully crowd-loud, dense and intense.
Have you ever been led to a new pub, bar or club by someone totally used and inured to its charms: someone at least familiar with its regular denizens and accustomed to its customs? But you find it oppressive, overwhelming and so hostile, even if it isn't? If the music or chatter is so loud that you cannot communicate with the one who brought you there and so find solace in their familiarity amongst this alien environment, then that's even worse. They stand there, relaxed, beaming and proud of themselves, while you shudder silently inside.
But Parrish takes this one step further, for although Tim leads Cleary to a bar he perhaps honestly believes she'll enjoy because of its sexuality diverse population (alternatively, to prove he's so very cool), in spite of all his ostensible equanimity, he's about to squirm too in its toilets.
There's nothing awful or untoward going on in its toilets. Everyone there is perfectly friendly; it is Tim who imperfectly is not.
Cleary finds a book along their way, and we are privy to its text.
"How can someone learn so little in all those years?"
Distance, it seems to me, is not only a matter of miles.