The Liar's Dictionary

The Liar's Dictionary

An exhilarating and laugh-out-loud debut novel from a prize-winning new talent which chronicles the misadventures of a lovelorn Victorian lexicographer and the young woman put on his trail a century later to root out his misdeeds while confronting questions of her own sexuality and place in the world.

Mountweazel n. the phenomenon of false entries within dictionaries and works of reference. Often used as a safeguard against copyright infringement.

Peter Winceworth, Victorian lexicographer, is toiling away at the letter S for Swansby's multivolume Encyclopaedic Dictionary. His disaffection compels him to insert unauthorized fictitious entries into the dictionary in an attempt to assert some sense of individual purpose and artistic freedom.

In the present day, Mallory, a young intern employed by the publisher, is tasked with uncovering these mountweazels before the work is digitized. She also has to contend with threatening phone calls from an anonymous caller. Is the change in the definition of marriage really that upsetting? And does the caller really intend for the Swansby's staff to 'burn in hell'?

As these two narratives combine, both Winceworth and Mallory discover how they might negotiate the complexities of the often nonsensical, relentless, untrustworthy, hoax-strewn, and undefinable path we call life. An exhilarating debut novel from a formidably brilliant young writer, The Liar's Dictionary celebrates the rigidity, fragility, absurdity, and joy of language.

Title:The Liar's Dictionary
ISBN:9780385546775
Format Type:

    The Liar's Dictionary Reviews

  • Adina

    Soon after I started this novel I realized that I am probably not the intended audience. I’ve never been the dictionary consultant type. My best friend and high school desk mate was. She used to wri...

  • Gumble's Yard

    Wonderfully (adv.): “in a way that inspires delight or admiration; extremely well”Whimsical: (adj): "(1) playfully quaint or fanciful, especially in an appealing and amusing way"Wordsmithery (noun...

  • Elyse  Walters

    *Note*... I started this review earlier- debated on posting it given how shocking & devastating today’s events have been — the domestic attack on The White House. Sad and outraged....But here goe...

  • Sawsan

    Delightful novel dealing with words, definitions, allusions and meditations of languagenarration combines in a funny way between a lexicographer from Nineteenth century and an intern at the present.. ...

  • Hugh

    I have been looking forward to reading more by Eley Williams since reading her wonderful short story collection Attrib. and other stories shortly before it won the Republic of Consciousness Prize. Thi...

  • lark benobi

    Yay! Yay! Yay!The Liar's Dictionary is so entertaining, so riveting, and above all so attentive to language, that reading it felt like I was in the presence of a virtuoso performer of an instrument ca...

  • Paul Fulcher

    Eley Williams’ quite brilliant Attrib, published by Influx Press, won the 2018 Republic of Consciousness Prize – I was privileged to be a member of the jury that awarded the prize to a unique coll...

  • Jenny (Reading Envy)

    "I beg your pardon. I had not realised this plant was taken."If you've ever geeked out about words, language, the OED, this may be the novel for you. It follows two characters working on a dictionary ...

  • Neil

    I am indebted to the interview here for helping me to get my thoughts in order. And to Paul for sending me that link while I was reading the book (I guess there’s a chance I would have found it myse...

  • Roman Clodia

    This loading hourglass, though. A further pair of pixels was suspended in the centre of the graphic to imply that sand was falling - as one watched the screen, this hourglass would swivel on its ax...