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‘She is formidable, and from a bare corner of human relations gathers a rich harvest.’ Adam Mars-Jones
First 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
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