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About the book
  • Published: 15 March 2007
  • ISBN: 9780099479536
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $19.99

A Lie About My Father




A breathtakingly beautiful memoir of childhood.

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 an exquisitely written evocation of a lost and damaged world of childhood and the constants of his father's world: men defined by the drink they could take and the pain they could stand, men shaped by their guilt and machismo..
A LIE ABOUT MY FATHER is about forgiving but not forgetting, about examining the way men are made and how they fall apart, about understanding that in order to have a good son you must have a good father.

  • Pub date: 15 March 2007
  • ISBN: 9780099479536
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $19.99

About the Author

John Burnside

John Burnside is amongst the most acclaimed writers of his generation. His novels, short stories, poetry and memoirs have won numerous awards, including the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, the Whitbread Poetry Award, the Encore Award and the Saltire Scottish Book of the Year. In 2011 he became only the second person to win both the Forward and T. S. Eliot Prizes for poetry for the same book, Black Cat Bone. In 2015 he was a judge for the Man Booker Prize. He is a Professor in the School of English at St Andrews University.

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Praise for A Lie About My Father

“This account of a failed father-son relationship is written with extraordinary beauty and insight... His is a profound meditation on the life of the spirit, and the shadows we all carry in our hearts”

Bel Mooney, The Times

“marvellously written scenes...few people write more hauntingly... His prose has a poet's delicacy and fine-honed precision”

Tim Jeal, Daily Telegraph

“Anyone who has read Gosse, Ackerley or Tobias Wolff will know that big books can be made about small-time fathers. It's a tribute to Burnside that he maps this same territory and prompts these comparisons while creating a story that is uniquely his”

Blake Morrison, Guardian

“This is a haunting read that will linger long after you close the pages of this book”

Michelle Stanistreet, Express

“Destined to become a classic of Scots childhood... A beautiful read, but also a brutal one”

Scotland on Sunday

“Superbly written; poetic in the best sense, summoning up a world of terror and beauty”

Literary Review

“[An] exquisitely written memoir”

Paul Bailey, Sunday Times

“Burnside's prose is a delight...Memoir this good illuminates something larger than itself. It is an exercise in understanding compassion and forgiveness”

Melanie McGrath, Sunday Telegraph


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