The False Friend
By Myla Goldberg
(Doubleday, Hardcover, 9780385527217, 272pp.)
Publication Date: October 5, 2010
List Price: $25.95*
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From the bestselling author of Bee Season comes an astonishingly complex psychological drama with a simple setup: two eleven-year-old girls, best friends and fierce rivals, go into the woods. Only one comes out . . .
Leaders of a mercurial clique of girls, Celia and Djuna reigned mercilessly over their three followers. One afternoon, they decided to walk home along a forbidden road. Djuna disappeared, and for twenty years Celia blocked out how it happened.
The lie Celia told to conceal her misdeed became the accepted truth: everyone assumed Djuna had been abducted, though neither she nor her abductor was ever found. Celia’s unconscious avoidance of this has meant that while she and her longtime boyfriend, Huck, are professionally successful, they’ve been unable to move forward, their relationship falling into a rut that threatens to bury them both.
Celia returns to her hometown to confess the truth, but her family and childhood friends don’t believe her. Huck wants to be supportive, but his love can’t blind him to all that contradicts Celia’s version of the past.
Celia’s desperate search to understand what happened to Djuna has powerful consequences. A deeply resonant and emotionally charged story, The False Friend explores the adults that children become—leading us to question the truths that we accept or reject, as well as the lies to which we succumb.
MYLA GOLDBERG is the author of the bestselling Bee Season, which was a New York Times Notable Book in 2000, later made into a film; and Wickett’s Remedy. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
- The False Friend is set into motion when Celia remembers her friend Djuna after having managed to block out those memories for twenty years. What is it about where Celia is in her life or her relationships that may have brought this memory to the surface? Does this sort of sudden recollection make sense to you, or was it difficult for you to accept the book’s opening premise?