The Four-Faced Liar
In the writing of P.W. Bridgman—whether it be his fiction or his poetry—things are not always as they seem. The story that gives its title to this latest volume features a village clock that cannot not tell the truth. Its four faces never quite agree on the time. Yet, the deceptions operate conveniently to serve particular interests. In another story, a cripplingly judgmental mother reposing troubled on her deathbed is blinded by simple, potted truisms about drive and ambition and, thus, remains unable, even then, to discern the burgeoning passion and promise in her seemingly plain and low-achieving adult daughter. And in still another, a precocious but unhappy young commercial lawyer who outwardly has the holy grail of his profession easily within his grasp, gives it all away in favour of taking up a new single life and a hardscrabble criminal defence practice representing the marginalized and the downtrodden. As is evident in his previous books, P.W. Bridgman’s imagination is curiously nomadic and adventurous. Informed by his family history, his travels and his life experience across three careers, Bridgman dips his writerly ladle into many wells in the course of serving up this latest fictional fare for his readers. These newest stories reflect the cadences and colour of life and spoken language, not only in urban and rural Canada but in Northern Ireland and England as well. At times unsentimentally tender, and at others prickly and discomfiting, the stories in The Four-Faced Liar continue Bridgman’s explorations of love, loss, life, death, redemption and the surprisingly banal, everyday face of evil.
P.W. Bridgman writes from Vancouver, Canada. He has worked, variously,
as a cobbler’s helper, a grocery boy, a delivery driver, a general labourer
and electrician’s helper at a paper mill, a child behaviour therapy clinician
and researcher, an autism treatment program director, a member of the
editorial board of a psychological journal, a university law faculty research
assistant, an articled student-at-law, a barrister, the editor-in-chief
of two legal journals, and a judge. He earned his undergraduate and postgraduate
degrees in psychology, and his degree in law, all from the University
of British Columbia at Vancouver.