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Tell Me the Truth About Love

“Tell Me the Truth About Love is a literary beach read. It combines vivid characters, plot twists and plenty of sex – with the elegant dialogue, psychological insight and sophisticated comedy we’ve come to expect from Erik Tarloff.”
— George Stephanopoulos, ABC News

A novel about sexual love straight and queer, about love between friends, between exes, between parents and children, between lovers old and new, Erik Tarloff’s Tell Me the Truth About Love tells the story of Toby Lindeman, a divorced man in San Francisco leading what appears to be an enviable bachelor’s life. Suave, attractive, somewhat detached from the emotional needs of those around him, he seems to sail blithely above life’s common difficulties as he goes about his duties as chief fundraiser for the San Francisco Opera.

But then, to his own surprise, he falls passionately in love with the most inappropriate woman possible, the long-time mistress of the powerful man on whom his own future seems to depend. As Toby navigates the risks of this relationship, encountering heartbreak and professional catastrophe along the way, he also finds himself reconnecting on a much deeper level with all the people in his life. Suspenseful, sexy, and often laugh-out-loud funny, Tell Me the Truth About Love is a very contemporary look at the varieties of human connection.

“Reading Erik Tarloff’s Tell Me the Truth About Love is like eating a box of carefully selected chocolate truffles: you don’t want to stop.”

— Wendy Lesser, author of Music for Silenced Voices

“All the complications of love are here, neatly plotted against a background of arts’ intrigue.  The characterization is clever yet rich in sympathy, even for those who stand in love’s way. This is among the best of Tarloff’s novels – funny, smart, and full of unexpected twists.”

— Zachary Leader, author of The Life of Saul Bellow

“In Tell Me the Truth About Love Erik Tarloff displays his unique and uncanny ability to make any culture accessible and universal. A true master of dialogue, he doesn’t just ‘tell’ you a story. He makes you a character within. This book literally begs for a sequel.”

— Carter Monroe, author of Waffle House Blues

“The characters are real, the tensions and the beguiling undercurrents of sensuality are beautifully handled.  An elegant, haunting love story for grown ups.”

—Martin Walker, author of the Bruno Chief of Police novels


Bay Area Fall Reads

These new books with local ties should be on your list.

By Linda Lenhoff

Sep 30, 2022

Erik Tarloff, Tell Me the Truth About Love (Rare Bird Books, October)

Berkeley author and playwright Erik Tarloff unleashes his mastery of dialogue in this novel about a fundraising executive with the San Francisco Opera whose life is upended when he falls in love with the wrong woman, leading to heartbreak and disastrous professional consequences. But protagonist Toby learns how to survive in this fast-paced look at human connection. Tarloff’s latest is packed with unexpected twists and a haunting, funny love story for grown-ups.