Hal Sawyer saw his son once, the night Gerald was born. Gerald grew up with his ranchland-rich mother and through his boyhood to highschool graduation, Hal only consisted of birthday and Christmas presents, some Chesterfieldian letters, a fading photograph of an unbelievably handsome man posed next to a custom-made car. Hal is the chief liar of the title--a thoroughly decent, thoroughly passive man totally incapable throughout his life of ever living up to the great expectations roused in others at the first glimpse of his grand good looks. A series of small lies to Gerald allowed the boy to believe in Hal's non-existent success. The alternating stories of the separated father and son are told in tandem here. They finally meet when Gerald is himself a father and the sort of success Hal has never been. What might have been a sentimental story, or depressing had the late confrontation been mutually destructive, is neither. Savage is an excellent storyteller handling through fiction one of the most pervasive, but least openly examined, problems in modern society--the separation of parent and child and how each can be affected by it, the separate fantasy image that can replace and motivate with equal strength the real people involved.