Book The Dead Seagull

Raffaella’s father, George Granville Barker (26 February 1913 – 27 October 1991) was an English poet who identified with the New Apocalyptic movement, reacting against 1930s realism with mythical and surrealistic themes. In his early 20s, George Barker had already been published by TS Eliot at Faber & Faber, with Eliot declaring the young poet a genius.

His love affair with Canadian author Elizabeth Smart was a source of inspiration for both writers. Elizabeth Smart recounts her version in her book, “By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept”, that won recognition coming second to “Animal Farm” in the Cheltenham Booker Prize 1945.

“The Dead Seagull” offers the counterpart perspective of the love affair. After 30 years out of print, the new eBook reunites the ‘lost half’ of the affair with Elizabeth Smart’s novel.

In her introduction to her father’s book, Raffaella reflects on growing up in a family of writers and stories, “from an early age I understood that myth and memory can be blurred, and the facts of any situation can show many different faces”. “The Dead Seagull”, she writes, “carves the same wounds that Elizabeth Smart described. They both went for truth scarred with guilt.”

This literary inheritance features in Raffaella’s own work, blending the authenticity of reality with the magic of fiction. Her first novel “Come Tell Me Some Lies”, is loosely based on memories of her unconventional childhood and her wild father, while many others, including “Hen’s Dancing” are preoccupied with complex, or even dysfunctional, families.