When does a secret become a lie? And are all lies wrong? Minnesota native Maggie Ginsberg — now a resident of Madison, Wis. — deftly explores these questions in her engaging debut novel, "Still True." Set in the small town of Anthem, Wis., the story follows the lives of two couples — middle-aged Lib and her husband, Jack, who have lived in Anthem their entire lives, and newcomers Claire and Dan, a young couple with a 10-year-old son.
When Lib's biggest secret — the son she abandoned 40 years before — shows up at her front door, she is terrified. She's terrified of losing Jack, who believes in scrupulous honesty and openness, and she is terrified of opening up about her traumatic past.
Meanwhile, Claire has secrets of her own. She has lost her job as a newspaper reporter and is drifting in this small town, finding comfort in wine — way too much wine, all day long — and veers dangerously close to an affair.
What ties these two couples together is the endlessly endearing Charlie, Claire's 10-year-old son, who strikes up a friendship with the grandfatherly Jack. But what ties them together can also undo them, and the story builds to a near-tragic climax.
Ginsberg will be in conversation with writer Frank Bures at 7 p.m. Nov. 17 at Magers & Quinn, 3038 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls.