Miranda Doyle's family come from the tiny island of Coney in Sligo Bay. She grew up in Edinburgh alongside three brothers and a suspicious number of ill-fated pets. With an MA from Goldsmiths in Creative and Life Writing she has lectured on Autobiography for the Philosophy and European Literature degree at Anglia Ruskin University and continues to teach creative writing. Her debut book, a memoir titled A BOOK OF UNTRUTHS, written with the support of an award from Arts Council England, explores the lies we tell ourselves.
Praise for A BOOK OF UNTRUTHS (2017)
'Miranda Doyle's A Book of Untruths comes with clearance from her dying mother to "write anything you want". It's related in a series of short passages of numbered lies - building to form a kind of literary mosaic of a life story. While Doyle sometimes muses conceptually on the essence of truth, lies and memory, it soon becomes clear that her story is quite enough on its own... In the end, love and motherhood awaken Doyle's own agency, and her voice... ultimately the darkest truths are teased out, and examined - on one occasion literally, as Doyle asks to look at sliced sections of her father's autopsied brain. It probably says it all about A Book of Untruths that this isn't even close to being the reader to stick with her tense, candid, sage testimony to the last unsettling, rewarding word.' Guardian
‘A curious memoir… Doyle has had the clever idea of structuring her story through a series of 70 of the lies told in her childhood and early adulthood. In the process, she explores the nature of lying and asks why lies should beget lies within marriages and families. Although this is her first book, Doyle is a natural and spirited writer, and her story is confidently and stylishly told… [an] elegantly ambivalent book.’ Daily Telegraph (4 stars)
‘[A] powerful, distinctive memoir... related in a series of short passages of numbered lies – building to form a kind of literary mosaic of a life story. While Doyle sometimes muses conceptually on the essence of truth, lies and memory, it soon becomes clear that her story is quite enough on its own … the darkest truths are teased out, and examined – with Doyle challenging the reader to stick with her tense, candid, sage testimony to the last unsettling, rewarding word.’ Observer
'There is something of the courtroom to this harrowing debut... Each chapter is prefaced by a lie [Doyle] has told or been told. The book is often bleak but, goodness, is it gripping... Does the fact of memoir-writing — the natural bias, the conscious and unconscious deceit, the wilful manipulation of detail for narrative purposes, all of which she describes — enable her to get away with it? When she says, “I must warn you, I have lied on occasion”, is she simply hiding? Her words have such clarity and bite that you believe every one of them... For all the untruths, [Doyle's] approach to life-writing is forensic. “Sentimentality and sensational over-indulgence” are on her list of what makes a bad memoir. She is guilty of neither.' Evening Standard
'This dazzling memoir ironically titled A Book of Untruths is actually ablaze with veracity... Of course most families are mad, those proclaiming the greatest normality usually the maddest, but if this family portrayal doesn’t make you weep, laugh out loud, scream in horror, identify, you’re clearly keeping your heart in a biscuit tin under the bed. Go retrieve it immediately and treat it, and yourself, to this most extraordinary evocation of the fragility of family, of sanity, of children, of us all.' Irish Times
‘A refreshingly original debut.’ Independent i
Faber & Faber
A Book of Untruths is a family story told through a series of lies. Each short chapter features one of these lies and each lie builds to form a picture of a life-Miranda Doyle's life as she struggles to understand her complicated family and her own place within it.
This is a book about love, family and marriage. It is about the fallibility of human beings and the terrible things we do to one another. It is about the ways we get at-or avoid-the truth. And it is about storytelling itself: how we build a sense of ourselves and our place in the world.
A Book of Untruths is a surprising, shocking and invigorating book that edges towards the truth through an engagement with falsehood. It brings questions to its readers; not answers.