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‘It felt such a privilege to read this book. Raw, devastating, beautifully formed. Let’s keep our eye on Barker’ Daisy Johnson
‘Nuanced, absorbing and moving’ Observer

When Xanthi Barker’s father died when she was in her mid twenties, she could make no sense of her grief for a man who had been absent for most of her life. Her father, poet Sebastian Barker, had left Xanthi, her mother and her brother to pursue writing and a new relationship, when Xanthi was a baby. Growing up she had always struggled to reconcile his extravagant affection – a rocking horse crafted from scavenged wood, the endless stream of poems and drawings and letters, conversations that spiralled from the structure of starlight to philosophy to Bruce Springsteen – with the fact that he could not be depended upon for more everyday things. Though theirs was a relationship defined by departures, he always returned, so why should this farewell be any different, or more final?

WILL THIS HOUSE LAST FOREVER? is a heartfelt and wholly original memoir about the pain of having to come to terms with a parent’s mortality, the way grief so utterly defies logic, and about learning to see the flaws in those that we love, and let them go.


I loved this delicate and engaging story of love and grief so much that it made me wish I was still a bookseller so I could press it into the hands of all my customers... It's so honest and beautifully written
Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of THE LAST ACT OF LOVE
Barker's attempt to triangulate a void is haunting. Yet even from the depths her memories glow with life, the writing gleams with precision
Rhik Samadder, author of I NEVER SAID I LOVED YOU
The story of a relationship defined by departures... arresting and beautifully written
The Bookseller (Editor's Choice, June)
Conveys brilliantly the maddening experience of loving someone who is absent when present and present when absent... I was drawn in by her intense prose. A great new talent
Jill Hopper, author of THE MAHOGANY POD
This book counts the true cost of having a writer in the family. Meticulously, Xanthi Barker traces the fault lines of her fractured relationship with her father back through his own marriage, all the way to her grandparents' union: the original, generative source of their poetry and pain. This is a fearless debut: potent and intensely moving
Tabitha Lasley, author of SEA STATE
Wonderful - an elegy of sorts, yet wholly fresh and unsentimental
Sarah Baume
'Nuanced, moving and absorbing... open, youthful and uncensored... extraordinary