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Life Stories

Life Stories (Paperback)

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'She is formidable, and from a bare corner of human relations gathers a rich harvest.' Adam Mars-JonesFirst published in 1981, Life Stories includes some of A. L. Barker's earliest fiction (taken from her Somerset Maugham Prize-winning book, Innocents) alongside newer pieces. Conceived as an antidote to conventional autobiography, with what she described as 'all those pages peppered with "I"s', Life Stories consists of fictions based on and recalling the formative events of her writerly life. All are shaped and incorporated to form a wholly individual narrative in which 'some of the facts are here, and a lot of fiction, with truth in all of it.''Her glancing, allusive writing carries one along easily, darting from invention to invention . . . Underneath there is a firm, ordering imagination and the poise of perfect pitch.' New Statesman'It would be hard to find anyone who chooses words more exactly or constructs with more precision.' Penelope Fitzgerald 'A. L. Barker writes extraordinarily well, evoking a character or a situation with great economy in a few lines . . . one can only admire the quality of her writing, which makes one want to go on reading.' Auberon Waugh

Fiction & PoetryModern & contemporary fiction post c 1945 Publisher: Faber & Faber Publication Date: 15/10/2009 ISBN-13: 9780571254996  Details: Type: Paperback Format: Books
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A. L. Barker (1918-2002) was a short story writer and novelist. Born in St Paul's Cray, Kent, she lived in the same milieu where London borders on Kent and Surrey, for the rest of her life. As her Oxford DNB entry says it was 'the chief setting for her work, which often seemed to partake of the quotidian mysteriousness and even abandonment of these areas.' Her first selection of short stories, Innocents, won the Somerset Maugham award in 1947. Of her short stories, Robert Nye has written, 'stories as carefully composed as poems, quiet and delicate and reserved perhaps, but oddly lingering in the mind.' Although a stranger to commercial success, she never wanted for admirers, Jane Gardam, Francis King, Auberon Waugh, Evelyn Waugh, Rebecca West, John Sutherland, Deborah Moggach, Ronald Blythe, Susan Hill, A. S. Byatt, Adam Mars-Jones, Nina Bawden and Victoria Glendinning being just some of them. A. L. Barker deserves to be better known. Faber Finds is proud to be reissuing her entire oeuvre, six volumes of short stories - Innocents, Novelette with Other Stories, Femina Real, Life Stories, No Words of Love and Element of Doubt - and thirteen novels - Apology for a Hero, A Case Examined, The Joy-Ride and After, Lost Upon the Roundabouts, The Middling, John Brown's Body, Source of Embarrassment, A Heavy Feather, Relative Successes, The Gooseboy, The Woman Who Talked to Herself, Zeph and The Haunt.

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