“The Truth about Lorin Jones” by Alison Lurie

A deft novel about each other and ourselves, about the conflicting stories we hear and tell about us, about prejudice and, more profoundly, the logical unknowability of a person, even ourselves.

Lurie’s characters’ names give this away: the heroine – Polly Alter (“many, another”), and the polyonomy of the remoter heroine, the dead artist Lauren/Laurie/Lolly/Lorin Jones.

Rarely for a novel it ends strongly, with a sustained account of Polly’s imagining two future stories about herself, both unappealing, before settling for a half-forgotten third, the one actually most likely to bring her happiness, precisely in its being the least reliant on status, on the views of others.

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