A Big Enough Lie

E-book – $17.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3122-4

Trade Paper – $17.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3121-7
Publication Date
June 2015
Page Count
296 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

A Big Enough Lie

A Novel
Eric Bennett

Awaiting a TV talk show appearance, John Townley is quaking with dread. He has published a best-selling memoir about the Iraq War, a page-turner climaxing in atrocity. In a green room beyond the soundstage, he braces himself to confront the charis-matic soldier at the violent heart of it. But John has never actually seen the man before—nor served in Iraq, nor the military. Even so, and despite the deception, he knows his fabricated memoir contains stunning truths.

By turns comic, suspenseful, bitingly satirical, and emotionally potent, A Big Enough Lie pits personal mistruths against national ones of life-and-death consequence. Tracking a writer from the wilds of Florida to New York cubicles to Midwestern workshops to the mindscapes of Baghdad—and from love to heartbreak to solitary celebrity—Bennett’s novel probes our endlessly frustrated desire to grab hold of something (or somebody) true.

About the Author

ERIC BENNETT’s writing has appeared in VQR, A Public Space, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, among other publications. His essays include “The Pyramid Scheme,” in MFA vs. NYC (2014), and “Creative Writing and the Cold War University,” in A Companion to Creative Writing (2013). He is an associate professor of English at Providence College in Rhode Island.


"... as truthful a book about the Iraq calamity as there is to read. Lacerating and heart-breaking, it’s a tour de force romantic melodrama in the take-no-prisoners style of Pat Conroy’s The Lords of Discipline." —The Rumpus

"A blunt, effective debut." —Kirkus Reviews

"A strong read" —Publishers Weekly


"The fast moving, madcap plot hides deeper questions about art, verisimilitude, and our contemporary culture. A Big Enough Lie is an unflinching look at memoir and memory, and how we use our experiences, and those of others, to construct our identities." —New Pages

Gives its readers a toxic shot of American violence, materialism, hypocrisy, and every permutation of bigotry in the book. Then it asks whether its dose of poison might cure or induce the very illnesses it portrays. It’s corrosive and passionate, upsetting and confrontational. By never giving an inch, Eric Bennett’s novel compels us, at its best, to consider our own participation not only in the starkest formsof these tragedies but also in the sins of euphemism and right-minded thinking that abet and preserve them.” —Paul Harding, author of Enon

A Big Enough Lie will turn your understanding of truth, war, and storytelling inside out and upside down. Like the best stories within stories, it is a feat of paradox: it manages to create a vividly real world not in spite of its metanarrative, but because of it. This is an immensely clever, original, and absorbing book.” —Eleanor Henderson, author of Ten Thousand Saints

“A blistering, brilliant novel, A Big Enough Lie plunges us deep into the heart of atottering empire—which just happens to be our own. Eric Bennett is a ferocious talent: there isn’t a line in this book that doesn’t seethe with intelligent life.” —Robert Cohen, author of Amateur Barbarians