What did it matter who I was?

Gaby Wood

  • The Blue Suit by Richard Rayner
    Picador, 216 pp, £9.99, July 1995, ISBN 0 330 33821 8
  • The Liar’s Club by Mary Karr
    Picador, 317 pp, £14.99, October 1995, ISBN 0 330 33597 9

Richard Rayner’s The Blue Suit is a memoir, a work of non-fiction. In it his father dies several times: of cancer, in a car crash, missing presumed drowned and, finally, of a heart attack. He makes guest appearances in between, as a sick man in Scotland, as a diplomat in Australia, as a stepfather. These events all form part of a story, a sort of Arabian Nights of the confessional, in which Rayner admits his real life to his girlfriend (‘one confession veiling the next’), and the whole truth turns out to be a narration of the lies he has told.

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