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A Lie about My Father
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A Lie about My Father

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  93 ratings  ·  11 reviews
A moving, unforgettable memoir of two lost men: a father and his child.

He had his final heart attack in the Silver Band Club in Corby, somewhere between the bar and the cigarette machine. A foundling; a fantasist; a morose, threatening drinker who was quick with his hands, he hadn't seen his son for years. John Burnside's extraordinary story of this failed relationship is
Paperback, 336 pages
Published March 1st 2007 by Vintage (first published March 2nd 2006)
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MJ Nicholls
This is recommended for those seeking the quintessential evil father memoir. The father in this case is an alcoholic, a deadbeat and a Scottish hardman who mistreats his wife and son. The son (the author) then goes on a rebellious rampage of alcohol, sex and drugs. This culminates in a long spate of mental illness.

Uplifting? No. However, Burnside utilises a very poetic and compelling turn of phrase throughout, which lifts the antics from the potential whirlpool of navelgazing. He has a remarkabl
This man, (Burnside) writes like an angel. Or, the poet that he is. It's a memoir, and I will read anything he writes. Try him. You won't be sorry.
This is a wonderful book. Honest, moving and magical. He never goes for cheap laughs, he never spins out an anecdote to make himself look good or his father look bad, he doesn't deal in self pity or in easy cliches, you sense that this is a painfully honest trawl for some sort of truth. i love John Burnside's poetry and i love his prose, an example, " learn to love yourself by loving the world around you. Because what we love in ourselves is ourselves loving."
This book is imbued with sadness and regret but still,at the end,you are uplifted with something a little like hope and even forgiveness.
This was one of my Scottish themed books purchased for last Summer's Highlands Adventure. The first chapter held great promise that was only minimally filled by the following chapters. I was interested by the memoir of a young boy's relationship with his father and its lasting impact. Yet, I felt the last few chapters strayed through self-satisfying journeys and the wrap-up provided only a quick nod to the new father-son dynamic.
Eleonora Bianchini
The introduction is far more promising than the rest of the book. Some descriptions are really vague even if they go on for some pages. Yet, it is interesting to see how the the father character is developed, even if it seems to be close to some clichés.
Do dysfunctional families make the best memoirs? Are happy, normal families bad fodder instead?
Sylvain Richard
Très joli "roman". Pas facile d'abord toutefois, on a du mal à accrocher sur certaines parties je trouve (en particulier la 2e partie)
Wenn man auf den ersten 40 Seiten an zwei Tagen hintereinander einschläft, sollte man lieber mit einem anderen Buch anfangen.
Shameless plug for my advisor! A great read, a little disturbing.
This one i read in french, so I have no excuses...
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John Burnside is the author of nine collections of poetry and five works of fiction. Burnside has achieved wide critical acclaim, winning the Whitbread Poetry Award in 2000 for The Asylum Dance which was also shortlisted for the Forward and T. S. Eliot prizes. Born in Scotland, he moved away in 1965, returning to settle there in 1995. In the intervening period he worked as a factory hand, a labour ...more
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“My father was one of those men who sit in a room and you can feel it: the simmer, the sense of some unpredictable force that might, at any moment, break loose, and do something terrible. [Burnside, p. 27]” 29 likes
“He lied all the time even when there was no need to lie [...] He needed a _history_, a sense of self. [Burnside on his father, p. 22]” 5 likes
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