Inventive, electrifying and daring, True Story is a novel like nothing you’ve ever read before.
‘A mind-blowing page-turning un-put-downable heartwarming empathetic formally inventive horror suspense thriller, with a life-affirming and timely feminist message‘ Elif Batuman
After a college party, two boys drive a girl home: drunk and passed out in the back seat. Rumours spread about what they did to her, but later they’ll tell the police a different version of events. Alice will never remember what truly happened. Her fracture runs deep, hidden beneath cleverness and wry humour. Nick – a sensitive, misguided boy who stood by – will never forget.
That’s just the beginning of this extraordinary journey into memory, fear and self-portrayal. Through university applications, a terrifying abusive relationship, a fateful reckoning with addiction and a final mind-bending twist, Alice and Nick will take on different roles to each other – some real, some invented – until finally, brought face to face once again, the secret of that night is revealed.
Startlingly relevant and enthralling in its brilliance, True Story is by turns a campus novel, psychological thriller, horror story and crime noir, each narrative frame stripping away the fictions we tell about women, men and the very nature of truth. It introduces Kate Reed Petty as a provocative new voice in contemporary fiction.
Sunday has totally flown by, am totally engrossed in this one and cannot out it down. No words can describe this book as it’s a total treasure box that defies being pigeonholed into a genre and is wholly itself. I’m jealous of you if you’ve yet to read it. An absolute five star read that will be in my ‘Books of the Year 2020’ list without a shadow of a doubt.
“I literally cannot believe this book exists. A mind-blowing, page-turning, un-put-downable, heartwarming, empathetic, formally inventive horror suspense thriller, with a life-affirming and timely feminist message? What? This would be an amazing fifteenth novel for a person to have written and it is Kate Reed Petty’s first one. What an incredible talent!” —Elif Batuman, author of The Idiot
“Kate Reed Petty is such a gifted writer that she can make even a college application essay feel utterly heartbreaking. And in True Story, she has given us a riveting and totally innovative novel about the power of lies to shape the truth, a book built like an elaborate jigsaw puzzle whose picture becomes thrillingly clear only after you’ve locked in the very last piece.” —Nathan Hill, author of The Nix
“Brilliant—a darkly gripping enigma of a book. Petty boldly plays with genre and voice to tell the story of an assault and a rumor that shapes the trajectory of a woman’s life. The result is a beautifully prismatic and profound meditation on victims and perpetrators, lies and truth, and above all the dangers and powers of storytelling and what it means to finally claim your voice.” —Mona Awad, author of Bunny
“True Story is a spectacular first novel—innovative, convincing, daring, suspenseful, heart-wrenching, and altogether astonishing. Kate Reed Petty is a force. What a beautifully unified, richly imagined, and skillfully composed work of literary art. I hope it wins the prizes Petty deserves.” —Tim O’Brien, author of The Things They Carried