The Fake

A novel by Zoe Whittall.

This review originally appeared on
Graciously edited by Maria Crawford.

Zoe Whittall’s (Toronto author of The Best Kind Of People and The Spectacular) latest novel The Fake starts off outlining a young Cammie’s kidnapping but quickly dives into the triangulated relationship that forms between Cammie, Selby and Gibson as their lives become almost instantly, and toxically, entwined with Cammie’s world.

Selby is grieving from the loss of her wife Kate, who after six years in a relationship, suddenly and unexpectedly dies of a brain aneurysm. When Selby meets Cammie in a grief support group at the Jewish Community Centre at Spadina and Bloor she starts to come out of her funk, although still sticking to her hypochondriac ways. Then there’s Gibson, depressed from his recent divorce, he finds solace, companionship, and great sex with his new love, Cammie. 

Zoe Whitthall, The Fake, inside page
Zoe Whitthall, The Fake, inside page.

But it’s not until Selby and Gibson meet one another that the story takes its first big twist as they realize that not everything their mutual acquaintance Cammie says comes even remotely close to the truth. Or does it?

Is it a synergy, a coincidence, or perhaps the energy of the universe that conspires to bring people together? Whatever it is, these broken-hearted, depressed, and disconnected people come together at just the right moment in time to see Selby become Cammie’s newest lesbian friend as well as providing Gibson a new lease on life.

As the drama unfolds we are taken through Gibson’s still emotionally raw divorce with Veda, while Cammie continues to reveal herself to be a source of suspicion. She seems to making up all these horrific stories about her past and present condition living in remission from Cancer. Could both Selby and Gibson just be confused, or are they in the grips of a most seductive narcissist?

When Cammie begins to question Selby and Gibson’s loyalty, they both begin questioning their separate realities. Not until Selby and Gibson begin sharing notes on their experiences does the truth begin to emerge. 

Witty, salacious, and a riveting page turner, every chapter ends with a delicious hook making it impossible to put down. The Fake will leave you wanting more. Honestly. •

Zoe Whitthall, The Fake, photo of inside sleeve by Raymond Helkio,
Photo of Zoe by N. Maxwell Lander

 Raymond Helkio writes reviews for The Reading Salon and is a theatre artist, writer and poet living on the edge of insanity. Get in touch.

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