My father told lies all his life and, because I knew no better, I repeated them. Lies about everything, great and small, were the very fabric of my world.
The lie in the title of astonishing memoir Lie About My Father is born of shame. Traveling around upstate New York in the nineties, John Burnside can't bear to share the truth about his father during a casual conversation with a hitchhiker. He covers his uneasiness with a lie. It felt natural to do so.
His father, abandoned as a baby on a stranger's doorstep, created a masterful web of deceit to erase this unbearable fact. John, even as a child, represented everything that was wrong with the world and became the recipient of his father's selfhatred in the form of enraged violence, and worse, petty, cruel belittlement. Growing up in the tough working-class neighborhoods of Scotland and later England, John learned to lie back to his father and, later, about his father.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.88(d)|
About the Author
JOHN BURNSIDE has published five works of fiction and nine collections of poetry, including The Asylum Dance, which won the 2001 Whitbread Poetry Award.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
It's well written .... but suffers from being episodic and looping. There are times when I get the impression that Burnside edited out certain parts, but still refers to those parts in an oblique way. He hints at things to come, but then fails to follow up with any further mention. It's foreshadowing gone wrong. When it's good, it's very very good. But it was obviously written in self-contained chunks, and those chunks do not always clearly relate to each other.
I am familiar with the author's poetry and was intrigued to know the personal history of someone so talented. Baby boomers, listen up, most of you will relate to much of this painfully honest story of one person's descent into the grips of drugs and alcohol. There were times when I had to walk away, take a break, and return to the story - of father and son. My own childhood memories surfaced and one may be forced to reconcile their own past through the journey of these pages, just as Mr. Burnside has attempted to do. Be prepared to be angry, sad, frightened and relieved === this book takes you on a rollercoaster ride. I was reminded that nothing, absolutely nothing, is wasted in God's economy.