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While the suspense is maximally exploited—whether the gorgeous, charming Professor Portecorvo is a thoroughly depraved individual or a victimized innocent is a truly intriguing puzzle—the novel is just as preoccupied with how truths and falsehoods can be perceived as slippery, or subjective, or tailored to public opinion. As defense lawyers are fond of saying, the truth is less important than the convincingness of a story, and Leo goes one step further than that. “The only true story,” he thinks in despair, “… is the one everyone will believe,” which “speaks of the moral corruption of a twelve-year-old girl by a fifty-year-old man at the peak of success.”

From my review of Persecution, the biting and original second novel by Italian author Alessandro Piperno.

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