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As I announced to my newsletter subscribers in this month’s edition, my upcoming novel is entitled Liars’ Table.
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The stereotype of a liars’ table (or bench) is of a group of older men, retired or, at least, with nowhere to be in a hurry, swapping tall tales with each other to pass the time. Sometimes it’s in a fast food restaurant (my closest Bojangle’s and Hardee’s each has such a group), but I tend to think more of a country store or diner. The iconic 1923 photograph Liars’ Bench by Frank M. Hohenberger depicts one under a shade tree.
If you Google the term, you will find dozens and dozens of photos of such places from around the world. And, yes, this is a global phenomena. A reader in the Netherlands sent me a photo of one there after I mentioned it a couple of months ago.
That same Google search will also show you a problem I faced. Is it a liars, liar’s, or liars’ table? Each example can be found, often either as an inscribed plaque (something that happens in the book) or being carved into the furniture itself. I even located a business who spelled it one way on their sign but another on their t-shirt.
So why did I choose liars’ (with an apostrophe after the s)?
First, liars without the apostrophe doesn’t work because it’s not possessive. Without it, it’s an adjective similar to a red table or a wood table. In this case, though, the table belongs to the liars.
The second choice, liar’s table, would be correct if only one liar sat there.
Thus, we landed on the third—liars’ table. A group of liars who sit at the table every morning.
By the way, the topic is even addressed in my upcoming novel:
He gestured to the small, engraved plaque screwed into the wall at the end of the table. The bronze had tarnished, but the lettering remained easy to read—The Liars’ Table. Abe installed it as a joke on a group of retired factory workers twenty years earlier. The first thing they did was typical—they argued whether it was Liar’s or Liars’. The debate still spikes up now and then, mostly when some flatlander wanders in and makes a comment about it. To me, it’s always been clear. It wasn’t just one liar sitting around the table then and it still wasn’t true now.
You might be thinking this is a lot of effort to explain something so minor, but you don’t know how often I hear a comment about a title. I’ve even received notes complaining that I misspelled the title character’s name in my last novel, Jaxon with an X. Somehow, Jackson with a ck doesn’t have the same ring.
So, yes, I expect to receive complaints over Liars’ Table and that blasted apostrophe.
P.S. – The cover will be revealed in the September 1 newsletter. Seriously. Subscribe now.
Dillard Wayne Early Jr. has many problem fitting into his high school in small town Tennessee. No escaping the shadow of his father since they share the same name. The elder Early’s reputation as a fundamentalist preacher who believes in snake handling is half the problem. The fact he’s serving prison time for a scandalous crime is the other half.
Fortunately for Dill Jr., he has two best friends who make life bearable, even if they are both misfits as well. Lydia is immensely popular, at least online as a teenaged influencer, though that makes her a target in school. Travis lives in his own epic fantasy world, something he loudly announces with his choice of clothing.
With their last year of high school upon them, they must make the hard life choices that age brings, but they each face their own conflicts of loyalty to family, poverty, and following their heart.
Gratuitous Dog Picture
All the work I need the dogs to do is to pose for at least one photograph. What was His Royal Highness Little Prince Typhoon Phooey’s response when I asked him to look at the camera? We’ll file this under royal cooperation.
Background title image courtesy Alex Jones
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