The Lie That Settles by Peter Farrell


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Peter Farrell is not the first person to discover he is illegitimate but few have been brave enough to provide such an illuminating account of the events that led to the search for a parent. This rich and compelling memoir reveals a surprising personal history behind an apparently conventional life.

Through Peter’s mother, Marion, we are taken from an East End munitions factory in the First World War and a 1920s mental health institution to the bohemian free school movement, and learn what sacrifices a mother can make for her child. Peter’s own life experiences are forged on a childhood of institutional living with little concept of normal family life.

As a new immigrant sent to work on a remote prison farm in New Zealand, it takes Peter many years and encounters to finally understand what Maori mean by the word ‘whanau’.The Lie That Settles is a powerful story of loss, love and survival spanning nine decades and two continents.

Paperback: 234 pages
Dimensions: 6 x 9 inches


“A deeply humane account. He astutely avoids sentimentality and judgement.” – Jane Westaway NZ Books

“Honesty totally comes through. It is done with a great deal of integrity.” – Radio NZ: Eva Radich

“A captivating story. A lesson in hope, and a personal history written with empathy, skill and honesty.” – Massey University: Defining NZ Maree Hoare