If a man and woman are to fall in love, they must, of necessity, both understand and practise the meaning of two words: compliance and antagonism.
As I am a young man, you might argue that I could know nothing of such things but, let me assure you, having fallen under the spell of a woman who knew a great deal about the art of love and taught me all that she knew, I would disagree.
Young as I am, I have learned that compliance is vital in that lovers must learn the joy of sharing; while antagonism is equally necessary in that if lovers agree about everything, what friction will ignite the flame of their love?
Rafael Innocenti has landed the biggest assignment in his journalistic career so far. If he can get the real story about Bad Burden, then who knows what the future may hold? Emma Burden has been pursued by local and international press. At worst she was a murderess at the age of eighteen. At best, she is a precocious teenager, representative of her generation. Emma has agreed to be interviewed by Rafael in order to tell the ‘true story’. And so begins a series of interviews in a coffee shop. Rafael records Emma’s account on tape, but not every part of the conversation will end up in the article. Emma is not an easy subject, changing personalities as often she changes her hair colour (and that’s often). Rafael is by turns frustrated, angered, captivated and chastened by their meetings as he tries to tease out the truth. He learns much more than he expected.
The Truth about Emma twists and turns, taking the reader on a journey through truth, lies and half-truths. Emma is a slippery character, ingénue one minute, world-weary rich sophisticate the next. That she is intelligent there is no doubt. Rafael, her interviewer is constrained by the memory of his Sicilian peasant origins, his confidence shored by expensive clothes. The two characters dance around each other, each learning from the other, in unexpected ways. The interviews take over Rafael’s life, impacting on his relationships and even his education. Along the way, he discovers that books have much to teach us, beyond the sum of their words. Crew looks closely at the role and responsibilities of the media, individual and generational responsibilities, and notion of fallibility. Topics for discussion include media, family, relationships, morality, truth and honesty. Recommended for mid- to upper-secondary students.
The Truth about Emma, by Gary Crew