- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Jonathan Cape (2 Mar. 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0224074873
- ISBN-13: 978-0224074872
- Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 2.7 x 22.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 677,079 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
A Lie About My Father Hardcover – 2 Mar 2006
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More About the Author
"This account of a failed father-son relationship is written with extraordinary beauty and insight... His is a profound meditation on the life of the spirit, and the shadows we all carry in our hearts" (Bel Mooney The Times)
"Marvellously written scenes...few people write more hauntingly... His prose has a poet's delicacy and fine-honed precision" (Tim Jeal Daily Telegraph)
"Anyone who has read Gosse, Ackerley or Tobias Wolff will know that big books can be made about small-time fathers. It's a tribute to Burnside that he maps this same territory and prompts these comparisons while creating a story that is uniquely his" (Blake Morrison Guardian)
"This is a haunting read that will linger long after you close the pages of this book" (Michelle Stanistreet Express)
"Destined to become a classic of Scots childhood... A beautiful read, but also a brutal one" (Scotland on Sunday)
A breathtakingly beautiful memoir of childhood.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Burnside's father was a drunkard, a liar and dissembler who ruled with threats and, later with violence. The lies came thick and fast - he lied about his origins, about his past life, and in the final analysis, about manhood - and it is a lie that so many men tell: that a man cannot own a true emotion; that he must not trust anyone; that he must be hard and unforgiving in order to survive. Why is this the story of so many unloving and unloved men? Burnside can't explain this, but what he does do is make it feel real.
As well as the story of his father, this book is also about Burnside's childhood, and what it led to as he grew up and left home. A dependency on psychotropic drugs and a life of drifting and falling - out of the world and into the imagination, and images and sensations are invoked to explain his own disaffections and self-damage. Sometimes the images are intensely beautiful and the writing seems to exist in its own time, beyond the limits of mere storytelling. Burnside is also a poet, and uses language to get behind events and beyond their mundanity to the core of sensations, feelings and events in order to say something profoundly universal about men and fatherhood. I found this brave book compelling reading.
It's written in a very easy and accesible style which accentuates the darkness of the story
It's a beautifully told story exploring universal themes, whilst giving his very personal account. I found it almost impossible to put down, despite the often bleak subject matter, and some of the passages or details in it made me smile in wry recognition.
For anyone who has experienced the anguish of a parent who drinks or the childish frustration of repeated disappointment at a parent's failings, this will ring true. It's not a cheery book but it's not wholly sad either. What it is, though, is a beautiful exploration of a difficult childhood and adolescence, told exceptionally well.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Confession of a memoir junky: I read a LOT of memoirs. A good memoir, and they are legion, is a place one wants linger (with the odd harrowing exception, like John McGahern's... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Simon Barrett 'Il Penseroso'
I tend to buy fiction and memoir by poets because they usually produce concentrated, lyrical and richly written prose, but John Burnside's book had me turning over the pages to see... Read morePublished on 10 Jun. 2006 by The Hungry Writer