The Beacon, By Susan Hill

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The Independent Culture

Misery memoirs may no longer be flavour of the month, but according to Susan Hill's new novel, their consequences can be far reaching.

In search of a quick buck, middle-aged journalist Frank Prime pens a best-seller detailing his childhood on a remote North Country farm. In it he accuses his late father of abuse - locking him in cupboards, depriving him of food - and his family of collusion.

Frank's three siblings are bemused by their brother's revelations and unprepared for the public hatred the book incites. Frank's memories don't chime with their own - but his account does seem to resonate with some emotional truth.