In the thirteen stories that comprise Truth and Other Fictions, by Eva Tihanyi, women take centre stage as they experience the slippery relationship between art and truth, not merely as an aesthetic concept but a reality in their lives. Art here is present in many forms and brought closely into the personal realm of the people involved with it: the paintings of Picasso, the photographs of Brassaï, the songs of Billie Holiday, the emotional impact of opera, the literature of Hemingway and Durrell, the intellect of Sontag. With each story we move closer to our own time, and into contemporary “twists” involving gourmet cooking and fine wine, the Internet, cosmetic surgery, and finally the Body Worlds exhibit where death itself is turned into a form of art.
About the author
Eva Tihanyi was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1956 and came to Canada when she was six. She teaches at Niagara College in Welland, Ontario, and has lived in the Niagara Peninsula since 1989, currently in St. Catharines. She is the author of seven books of poetry and a collection of short stories, Truth and Other Fictions (Inanna 2009). She was the literary editor of Niagara Current magazine from 2002 to 2004; freelance fiction reviewer for the National Post (2002 to 2009) and Toronto Star (2000 to 2006); and first novels columnist for Books in Canada (1995 to 1999) (responsible for selecting short list for the Chapters/Books in Canada First Novel Award). Flying Under Water: Poems New and Selected is her eighth book. See her website .
As the title implies, the stories in Truth and Other Fictions turn on the mutable and contested nature of truth, opening with Green is the Most Difficult Colour, a tale set in Picasso's Paris studios and narrated by one of the many young model/lovers the artist exploited over his long run as the city's resident genius/provocateur/dirty old man. The issue of the nature of reality and the ambiguous difficulties entailed in trying to represent it that are introduced in this story resonate through the remaining stories, tales that are set in various locales and decades up to the present. Quoting Picasso, the narrator says: “ ‘If there was a single truth, you couldn't make a hundred paintings of the same subject.' A hundred women, one man. A hundred truths. No truth at all. And you start with something. One woman, one man.” And so it goes throughout this wonderfully written collection of takes on the elusiveness of truth.… The author never sacrifices the particular human reality of her characters to the larger theoretical concerns she invokes, and the persuasiveness of her characterizations and the luminous quality of her visual descriptions of cityscapes and landscapes is strong enough to support her intellectual ambition.