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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)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

8 May 2014

Gabriella lives in a damp, ramshackle, book-strewn farmhouse in Norfolk with her tempestuous poet father and unconventional mother. Alongside her ever expanding set of siblings and half-siblings, numerous pets and her father's rag-tag admirers, Gabriella navigates a chaotic childhood of wild bohemian parties and fluctuating levels of poverty. Longing to be normal, Gabriella enrols in a strict day school, only to find herself balancing two very different lives. Struggling to keep the eccentricities of her family contained, her failure to achieve conformity amongst her peers is endearing, and absolute.

Come and Tell Me Some Lies is Raffaella Barker's enchanting first novel - a humorous, bittersweet tale of a girl who longs to be normal, and a family that can't help be anything but.

Frequently Bought Together

Come and Tell Me Some Lies + Green Grass + Summertime
Price For All Three: 22.68

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  • Green Grass 8.42
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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Paperbacks (8 May 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408850672
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408850671
  • Product Dimensions: 20.2 x 13.8 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 218,606 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


A gentle, charming account of a family of cosmopolitan sophistication living in a rural shambles ... What emerges at the end ... is an enormous sense of privilege in growing up among such vibrant, affectionate characters (Evening Standard)

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

A funny, though sometimes melancholy, story of irresponsible and drunken bohemianism ... A clever and touching debut (Guardian)

I love Raffaella Barker's books - so funny and acerbic (Maggie O'Farrell)

[A] highly assured beginning ... She writes beautifully ... combining, with apparent ease, emotion and admirable precision (Independent on Sunday)

Book Description

The classic story of a chaotic, creative 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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