Book Review: The Day of the Lie by William Brodrick
The Day of the Lie by William Brodrick
This a multi-layered, beautifully written book with moral backbone, an intriguing novel that explores the story of Róża, an elderly Polish woman forever damaged by the communist regime. Seeking to explore the truth of her story is Sebastian, a Polish lawyer seeking justice, a British journalist, John, who knew her in 1982, and his friend, Anselm, a monk and former lawyer, who flies to Warsaw to look at her files. Alternating between the current day, the past, and records and journals, a story of murder, torture and the deepest betrayal emerges – but it is also a story of hope, redemption and new beginnings.
The bare facts of Róża’s story are soon revealed. She was imprisoned and tortured in 1951 in Mokotow Prison by a man she knew as a child, Otta Brack, now a Secret Police Officer. He wanted to know the identity of The Shoemaker who wrote essays in Freedom and Independence, an illegal newspaper distributed on the streets. When Róża refused to reveal his identity, Brack shot dead Róża’s husband and another man. But Róża’s torment is not over and there is another agony for her to endure that is arguably even worse.
The Shoemaker is silenced by Róża’s ordeal, but in 1982, Freedom and Independence returns to the streets. John meets Róża, but then he is forced to leave the country and she is once again in prison. This time Brack gives her information about her informer that silences her for years until she is encouraged to finally change her mind.
This is an extraordinary tale that shows the human cost of communism at its worst, but it also shows how humanity, compassion and forgiveness are the only rebuttal to ‘The Terrors’ wrought.