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About The Book

“Has the page-turning quality of a thriller.” —NPR
“Strange and wonderful…A book for our times.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Propulsive…mesmerizing…breathtaking.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

This unforgettable memoir traces the ramifications of a series of lies that threaten to derail the author’s life—exploring the line between fact and fiction, reality and conspiracy.

In To Name the Bigger Lie, Sarah Viren “has pulled off a magic trick of fantastic proportion” (The Washington Post), telling the story of an all-too-real investigation into her personal and professional life that she expands into a profound exploration of the nature of truth. The memoir begins as Viren is researching what she believes will be a book about her high school philosophy teacher, a charismatic instructor who taught her and her classmates to question everything—eventually, even the reality of historical atrocities. As she digs into the effects of his teachings, her life takes a turn into the fantastical when her wife, Marta, is notified that she’s being investigated for sexual misconduct at the university where they both teach.

To Name the Bigger Lie follows the investigation as it challenges everything Sarah thought she knew about truth, testimony, and the difference between the two. She knows the claims made against Marta must be lies, and as she attempts to uncover the identity of the person behind them and prove her wife’s innocence, she’s drawn back into the questions that her teacher inspired all those years ago: about the nature of truth, the value of skepticism, and the stakes we all have in getting the story right.

An incisive journey into honesty and betrayal, this memoir explores the powerful pull of dangerous conspiracy theories and the pliability of personal narratives in a world dominated by hoaxes and fakes. An “ouroboros of a book” (The New York Times) and a “bold new approach to the genre of memoir” (The Millions), To Name the Bigger Lie also reads like the best of psychological thrillers—made all the more riveting because it’s true.

About The Author

Photograph by Q'Mariha Lewis

Sarah Viren is a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine and author of the essay collection, Mine, a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award and longlisted for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. She is also the author of To Name the Bigger Lie, a New York Times Editors’ Choice. A National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, she teaches in the creative writing program at Arizona State University.

About The Reader

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio (June 13, 2023)
  • Runtime: 8 hours and 51 minutes
  • ISBN13: 9781797157856

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