Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Lie about My Father” as Want to Read:
A Lie about My Father
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

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
...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published March 1st 2007 by Vintage (first published March 2nd 2006)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Lie about My Father, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Lie about My Father

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 235)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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
...more
Joe
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.
Henry
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, "...you learn to love yourself by loving the world around you. Because what we love in ourselves is ourselves loving."
Michele
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.
Amy
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.
Michael
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)
Unkunkel
Wenn man auf den ersten 40 Seiten an zwei Tagen hintereinander einschläft, sollte man lieber mit einem anderen Buch anfangen.
Jenny
Shameless plug for my advisor! A great read, a little disturbing.
Philippe
This one i read in french, so I have no excuses...
Maggie Tennant
Maggie Tennant is currently reading it
Mar 23, 2015
Vindaloo
Vindaloo marked it as to-read
Mar 21, 2015
Lutho
Lutho marked it as to-read
Mar 01, 2015
Susan Wardle
Susan Wardle marked it as to-read
Feb 28, 2015
Hande Usta
Hande Usta marked it as to-read
Feb 19, 2015
Robin
Robin marked it as to-read
Jan 27, 2015
Terry Everett
Terry Everett marked it as to-read
Jan 19, 2015
Fergus
Fergus marked it as to-read
Feb 17, 2015
Ungur Roxana
Ungur Roxana marked it as to-read
Jan 05, 2015
Entelkitap
Entelkitap marked it as to-read
Jan 03, 2015
B
B is currently reading it
Jan 01, 2015
Scoutaccount
Scoutaccount marked it as to-read
Dec 28, 2014
Ece
Ece marked it as to-read
Dec 24, 2014
Squirrel
Squirrel marked it as to-read
Feb 15, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Skating To Antarctica
  • The Pattern in the Carpet: A Personal History with Jigsaws
  • Cain's Book
  • Scent Of Dried Roses
  • A Closed Book
  • Further Confessions of a GP
  • The Reader
  • This is Not About Me
  • With Billie: A New Look at the Unforgettable Lady Day
  • The Biographical Dictionary of Literary Failure
  • The Life and Death of Peter Sellers
  • Junk Mail
  • The Fallen: Searching for the Missing Members of The Fall
  • Constellation of Genius: 1922: Modernism Year One
  • The Iceberg
  • Thank You for Not Reading
  • Like a Fiery Elephant: The Story of B.S. Johnson
  • Travels with Lizbeth: Three Years on the Road and on the Streets
314772
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
More about John Burnside...
The Glister A Summer of Drowning The Devil's Footprints: A Novel Black Cat Bone The Dumb House

Share This Book

“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
More quotes…