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Come and Tell Me Some Lies [Paperback]

Raffaella Barker
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 July 2000

Gabriella has many siblings and more animals. Her father is an impoverished poet with a penchant for mending cars with string and optimism, her mother a classicist now more concerned with trying to keep track of spiralling chaotic family life than the declining of verbs.

Gabriella and her brothers run amuck through the attics and wilderness garden of their home, Mildney. Here she observes and experiences the triumphs and pitfalls of belonging to a wayward family, and longs for conformity. Her failure to achieve it is absolute.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Review; New Ed edition (6 July 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747264813
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747264811
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 699,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


She writes beautifully... Combining, with apparent ease, emotion and admirable precision (Independent on Sunday)

The whole is suffused with love. To write well and with such open-hearted affection is an achievement (Observer)

Book Description

Raffaella Barker's enchanting first novel is a poignant rendering of a childhood amid a wild and adventurous family

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tales of Bohemia 3 Feb 2007
Since this was Raffaella Barker's first published book, you shouldn't expect the sophisticated storytelling of "Green Grass" or "Hens Dancing". However, her prose is good and her touch is light, and if you like stories of big families living hand to mouth, then this is definitely for you. I would recommend it as an 'Underground' book: the chapters are short and sweet and perfect for the short journeys between stops.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and well-written 14 Jan 2003
Raffaella Barker is an excellent writer and creates an amazing sense of character and place. She has a memory for those seemingly insignificant details that are really so telling, and that weave together to make a recreation of childhood and adolescence. Although frequently funny and sometimes hysterically so, this book seems also to be kind of tinged with sadness too. Worth reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vera Perkins 9 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I love this book to bits - funny, eccentric and evocative - a real comfort blanket. I read it often.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Memories of a Bohemian Childhood 17 Sep 2012
By Kate Hopkins TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Raffaella Barker's first novel is a fictionalized account of her childhood in Norfolk, where she lived until her late teens with her poet father, teacher mother (who later became a novelist) and four siblings. Raffaella, the oldest of the children, is loosely disguised in the book as the narrator, Gabriella (rather irritatingly called 'Va Va' by her siblings), while George Barker is renamed Patrick Lincoln. Rather than tell her story chronologically, Barker gives us a number of vignettes of Gabriella's bohemian childhood in rural Norfolk, and Gabriella's life as a young woman in London. A basic chronology is maintained by Barker beginning the novel with Gabriella's birth and ending some 24 years later with Patrick's death. Otherwise the novel dots around in time, from Gabriella's eleven-plus exam to her early days in London, back to memories of childhood and on to teenage parties. This 'snapshot' technique is readable and enjoyable if at times a little confusing.

I enjoyed the book hugely for the depictions of Norfolk and for the vast cast of eccentric characters. Patrick is a particularly fine creation, with his 'drinking room' and his elaborate statements: 'Dearest, do not let these bambini disturb me when I am in my cups' and the like; with his love of Italy, wrestling, books and old cars and his quite splendid rudeness when bored. Eleanor, a former Classics scholar who wears a blonde wig when she drives a car to hide the fact that she hasn't yet passed her test and is thus driving illegally, and who bakes hot cross buns in the oven and forgets about them so they become charcoal, is also very memorable, and there are some vivid cameo portraits, including Barker's long-term mistress Elizabeth Smart, fictionalized as 'Liza'.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tales from the life of a poet's daughter 4 Jun 2003
By A Customer
This is beautifully written, imaginative account of growing up, narrated by Gabriella, the daughter of an English poet. It tells of "The myths of my family, favourite fables told again and again, brought out like battered photographs, nostagia-scented and made alive by scrambled memory...fairy-tales, fantasies grown from a seed of truth". Colourful memories of her Norfolk childhood with all her brothers and animals are poured out for us to paint the picture of a wild and bohemian family. At turns both funny and meloncholy, this is a wonderful book that gives us telling glimpses into the real lives of Patrick Barker and his literary family.
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