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A Lie About My Father: A Memoir A Lie About My Father: A Memoir by John Burnside
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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]”
John Burnside, A Lie About My Father: A Memoir
“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]”
John Burnside, A Lie About My Father: A Memoir
“As I child, I came to this idea with a horrified fascination. Once upon a time, I wasn’t here. Before that, my parents weren’t here. And before that…”
John Burnside, A Lie About My Father: A Memoir
“There are days when that dark face is something I can think of as a friend – a primal energy that carries me forward when nothing else will – but more often than not I am face-to-face with a stranger, a companion to something I recognise as myself, sure enough, but one who knows more than I do, thinks less of danger and propriety than I ever have or will, feels a cool and amused contempt for the rules and rituals by which I live, the duties I too readily accept, the compromises I too willingly allow (p. 262)”
John Burnside, A Lie About My Father: A Memoir
“Everything stayed hidden […] it was all secret – known by anyone who cared to know, but unacknowledged, like a priest’s feverish brightness around adolescent boys, or the beatings Mrs Wilson endured on those Saturdays when Dumfermline lost at home(p. 83-84)”
John Burnside, A Lie About My Father: A Memoir
“As a lifetime proposition, happiness is a discipline, no doubt; but for moments at a time, it's a piece of luck. A piece of luck and a clue: a hint, not just of what might be, but of what already exists, in the heart of a man's heart...”
John Burnside, A Lie About My Father: A Memoir