Winner of the 2000 Amazon.com/Books in Canada First Novel Prize
Necessary Lies tells the story of the discovery of secrets and lies that stitch together empires and individual lives.
What are the lies we tell ourselves and others that get us through our lives? In the summer of 1981 Anna is suddenly offered the opportunity to study English at McGill University in Montreal. She jumps at the chance, leaving behind her job, her husband, and her country – Poland. She meets William, a music professor, and falls in love. Back home, martial law is declared. After almost ten years of marriage, William dies suddenly of a heart attack, and Anna is left to pick up the pieces. In the midst of grieving, she discovers more pieces than expected: for the length of their lives together, William carried on a long-distance affair with a woman journalist in Germany.
In search of truth, Anna returns to a dramatically changed Europe, where Communism has fallen, the Berlin Wall has been torn down, and where, once again, history will have to be rewritten. Probing the depths of betrayal and forgiveness, she confronts her own past and the motives that drove her away from Poland; she sees herself through the eyes of her mother, her ex-husband, and most importantly, William's German lover, Ursula.