The Liar, Stephen Fry's first novel, is, more or less, a Coming-of-Age Story about a compulsive liar. It centers around a young man named Adrian Healey, beginning with his public school years and ending sometime after he graduates from Cambridge. In between, he falls in love with his beautiful underclassman, Hugo Cartwright, forges an "unpublished" Dickens manuscript, works as a rent boy (allegedly), and gets involved in a pretend murder mystery. The novel is told in Anachronic Order with a liberal dosage of Unreliable Narrator, although the book is written in the third person.
The Liar provides examples of:
- The Alcoholic: Cartwright, by the end.
- Anachronic Order: The whole book. It takes at least two reads to get the whole story.
- Author Avatar: Adrian shares some similarities with a young Stephen Fry.
- Bedmate Reveal: Between Peter and Joe in Peter Flowerbuck.
- Believing Their Own Lies: Adrian asks Professor Trefusis whether these sorts of lies could be picked up by a lie detector.
- Comforting Comforter: Done once by Cartwright.
- Coming-of-Age Story: At its core.
- Consummate Liar: Adrian
- Dude, She's Like, in a Coma!: Part of a gambit by Adrian.
- Holding the Floor: Adrian does this to keep a meeting regarding Trefusis's trial from being televised.
- Lover and Beloved: Adrian is briefly in this kind of a relationship with an actor. Except he isn't.
- Platonic Prostitution: Occurs in Peter Flowerbuck.
- Red Light District: Picadilly
- Roman à Clef:
- Seamless Spontaneous Lie: Adrian is full of these.
- Show Within a Show: Peter Flowerbuck
- Stream Of Consciousness: When Adrian is hooked up to the Mendax.
- Unreliable Narrator: Adrian, again.