What happens when you run out of lies

“On the Saturday morning of January 9, 1993, while Jean-Claude Romand was killing his wife and children, I was with mine in a parent-teacher meeting at the school attended by Gabriel, our eldest son. He was five years old, the same age as Antoine Romand. Then we went to have lunch with my parents, as Jean-Claude Romand did with his, whom he killed after their meal.”

– The Adversary: A True Story of Monstrous Deception by Emmanuel Carrère


Jean-Claude Romand was a professional liar. After spending his entire adulthood method acting his way into a nearly flawless simulation of a respectable career as a doctor and loyal family man, Romand’s 18-year deception crumbled in 1993 when his carefully wrought web of lies began to collapse.

His solution: murder his wife, children, and parents before they could find out the truth, then stage an accidental death for himself. Unfortunately for Romand, he didn’t manage to die.

Following in the footsteps of Truman Capote, French author Emmanuel Carrère scrapes away at the accretion of lies that Romand built upon for nearly two decades. Through interviews, old fashioned journalism, and immersion in Romand’s strange, enigmatic “real” life, Carrère discovers that he and Romand share a disquieting love of spinning pleasing falsehoods. Romand is the dark twin of the professional writer.

Why Romand lied proves quite simple and almost worthy of compassion. How he managed to sustain his deception for so long is truly terrifying.

the delve