My review: Based on a true story, by Delphine de Vigan


About the book:

What would you do if your closest friend tried to steal your life? A chilling new novel from the prize-winning author of No & Me – a Richard & Judy Bookclub selection.

Today I know that L. is the sole reason for my powerlessness. And that the two years that we were friends almost made me stop writing for ever. Overwhelmed by the huge success of her latest novel, exhausted and unable to begin writing her next book, Delphine meets L. L. is the kind of impeccable, sophisticated woman who fascinates Delphine; a woman with smooth hair and perfectly filed nails, and a gift for saying the right thing. Delphine finds herself irresistibly drawn to her, their friendship growing as their meetings, notes and texts increase. But as L. begins to dress like Delphine, and, in the face of Delphine’s crippling inability to write, L. even offers to answer her emails, and their relationship rapidly intensifies. L. becomes more and more involved in Delphine’s life until she patiently takes control and turns it upside down: slowly, surely, insidiously. Based on a True Story is a chilling novel of suspense that will leave you questioning the truth and its significance long after you have turned the final page.

My review:

This is the second book of Delphine de Vigan that I have read. And I must say Delphine doesn’t disappoint.

In my opinion, ‘Based on a true story’ is a unique book, a symbiosis of fiction and reality. The book is about that as well, but also about so much more. This book is about female friendship which is known to be a complex subject. It is about writing and life of a successful author, about writing process and search for a ‘perfect’ book. And also this book is about real life and fiction and where they meet and how they interact which becomes a particular topic for writing – how much truth is in every author’s book, does the amount of truth make the book more successful or it all doesn’t matter when an author has an ability to create a world in their books so authentic and genuine that any reader would believe in it as true.

To me most books are about relationships between people, a man and a woman, between friends or family, this books is particularly dedicated to friendship between two women. How it forms, what drives it. I don’t like spoilers, so just say that this kind of friendship is possible with only one type of people. Sometimes this type appears partly in many of us. Can you guess what I am talking about?

This book gave an opportunity to look closely and quite intimately into the life of a successful author, the way of life, everyday routines and interactions with editors, publishers, other authors. It is quite fascinating, and at the same time I saw the difficulty of being a writer. Writing a good book is not easy, writing a great book is not enough. Once an author has done it, it doesn’t mean the peak of his or her career, the questions will follow about what’s next, what’s after, when, when, when… I can’t imagine writing something, sharing your story, especially if it is based on your real life, ‘squeezing’ your feelings and vulnerabilities out to produce a great book that relates to and touches many, and then seeing all that expectation and crave for more. It must be exhausting and energy-consuming.

The question of truth and fiction is quite significant in this book. I think any reader often considers how much truth in what they read. For many, including me, the filter of ‘this can be true’ is applied even to fiction books. If a book is written with so much fantasy that it’s hard to imagine it could’ve happened in real life (unless it’s a fantasy or science fiction book), then it is harder to relate to the characters and events in this book. At the same time, real life can be so much stronger and sometimes more shocking than any fictional plot and any fantasy. This books makes you think about all this. How much truth is important? What do you want to see as a reader? Where is a boundary between reality and fiction?

‘Based on a true story’ starts and goes in an average pace but the Delphine’s style is so engaging that you don’t feel bored or awaiting for an action. It is like a smooth story told by a friend that you listen to very carefully, trying not to miss any detail. You might start guessing the main secret but it hasn’t been a secret from the start. You just want to know more and how the truth and realisation will come out. This little story to a friend about a friend turns into a captivating thriller full of obsession and manipulation. 

220px-Based_on_a_True_Story_posterI really enjoyed this book.

Looking for a picture of the book cover, I found out there was a french movie based on this book which was presented at 2017 Cannes Film Festival.Dircted by Roman Polanski.

Emmanuelle Seigner and Eva Green are starring in this movie. I think the casting was just spot-on. Looking forward to DVD release to put my imagination into the imagery.


My score of the book is 5* out of 5*.

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