As well as the delightful descriptions of customs that are culturally different, belonging to a different pace of life, there is more. It takes a brave man to tackle the subject of foreign in-laws, and Tim Parks does it with humour and patience. The parents-in-law who arrive and leave with no warning, make promises to their grandchildren that are not kept, who maintain a protective attitude towards grown-up sons, the expectations of loving greetings and being thanked profusely as this is the real reward for small gifts. This is a different culture for Tim Parks, where his children learn to take things for granted that their foreign father finds strange, but by observing and often bridging the gap between the generations he learns to understand, and to accept. A fascinating view of the complicated relationships in a family, where the foreigner always reminds himself that HE is the different element, and adapts. An eye-opening read for the increasing group of people who through intercultural / international marriage find themselves lost in a strange web, and also a good idea for ANY person dealing with in-laws, even if they share the same nationality, because the culture is always different.