Randy Rosenthal unpacks “97,196 Words: Essays” by Emmanuel Carrère, translated from the French by John Lambert.
WHY IS IT so difficult for people to tell the truth? I’m not just talking about pathological liars or bull-spouting politicians, pundits, and partisans who cynically spin stories to further their own opportunistic ambitions. On a subtler level, in conversations with friends, colleagues, and lovers, we justify and rationalize, exaggerate, dismiss facts, and generally create a version of reality as we want it to be, not as it is. And what’s really interesting is that we aren’t even aware we’re lying — we believe we’re being honest. French author Emmanuel Carrère writes about many things, but he’s perhaps most interested in the lies people tell themselves and call truth.