A Lie About My Father; John Burnside

A Lie About My Father; John Burnside

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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. And for all those years the two estranged men had been falling - each at their own pace - towards their own vanishing points. John Burnside's extraordinary story of this failed relationship is an exquisitely written evocation of a lost and damaged world of childhood: from the condemned prefabs, overgrown gardens and haunted woods of Cowdenbeath to the simmering gang violence and industrial squalor of Corby. And through all this, 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. This was a life of secrets - drunken rampages, adolescent fumblings, domestic violence, illicit affairs, angels in deserted houses - which was to set a pattern of falling: binge-drinking, drug abuse and emotional exile: trying to eradicate the past, trying to disappear.

"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. John Burnside's unflinching honesty, profound thinking and heart-stopping images of beauty and fracture combine to create a moving, unforgettable memoir of two lost men: a father and his child.

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