'An unknown place.' This was what Michael Frayn's children called the shadowy landscape of the past from which their family had emerged. Shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards, My Father's Fortune sets out to rediscover that lost land before all trace of it finally disappears beyond recall. As Frayn tries to see it through the eyes of his parents ...Read More'An unknown place.' This was what Michael Frayn's children called the shadowy landscape of the past from which their family had emerged. Shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards, My Father's Fortune sets out to rediscover that lost land before all trace of it finally disappears beyond recall. As Frayn tries to see it through the eyes of his parents and the others who shaped his life, he comes to realise how little he ever knew or understood about them. This is above all the story of his father, the quick-witted boy from a poor and struggling family, who overcame disadvantages and shouldered many burdens to make a go of his life; who found happiness, had it snatched away from him, and in the end, after many difficulties, perhaps found it again. Father and son were in some ways incredibly alike, in others ridiculously different; and the journey back down the corridors of time is sometimes comic, sometimes painful, as Michael Frayn comes to see how much he has inherited from his father and makes one or two surprising discoveries along the way. Michael Frayn is the celebrated author of fifteen plays including Noises Off, Copenhagen and Afterlife. His bestselling novels include Headlong, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Spies, which won the Whitbread Best Novel Award and Skios, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 2011-01-31 A sprightly, warmhearted memoir of his dapper salesman father takes playwright and novelist Frayn (Spies) from working-class London through two world wars. Thomas Frayn died in 1970 at the age of 69, largely deaf but still actively selling roofing to contractors in London, a widower who later remarried, and whose enterprising, responsible spirit bequeathed a "fortune" to his son much later in life. The Frayn clan filled a cramped house in a rough neighborhood in Halloway, North London; Tom Frayn left school at age 14, marked as a "smart lad," gaining a clerk's wages that were needed to support the family. Married in 1931 to Violet "Vi" Lawson, who similarly had to quit a prestigious music school to go to work, Tom moved his family to Ewell Village, Surrey, where the author and his younger sister grew up within the stolid middle class. Michael Frayn, however, was not destined to be the brilliant cricketer and wit that his father envisioned, but rather "as dozy as a weekend motorist." The sudden death of his mother of a heart attack when he was 12 "hardened" the author, drove him inward, and he became enamored with music and poetry, eventually attending Cambridge and becoming a journalist. Here is a son's proud, gently poking tribute to the remarkable qualities of an ordinary man, if only on the outside. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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