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Man and Boy [Paperback]

Tony Parsons
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (257 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

4 Aug 2008

A fabulously engaging and exciting novel about a man who has to learn about life and love the hard way.

Harry Silver has it all. A successful job in TV, a gorgeous wife, a lovely child. And in one moment of madness, he chucks it all away.

Man and Boy is the story of how he comes to terms with his life and achieves a degree of self-respect, bringing up his son alone and, gradually, learning what words like love and family really mean.

It is very well written, pacy, funny, and heart-breakingly moving.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; New Ed edition (4 Aug 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006512135
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006512134
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (257 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 81,334 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Hello - and thanks for checking out my page at Amazon Author Central.

I'm not going to drone on and on - I know you have books to read - but this is the perfect place to tell you a little about me, and something about my new novel - THE MURDER BAG, which will be published in its first edition in May 2014.

THE MURDER BAG is my first crime novel and features the debut of Detective Max Wolfe of the Homicide and Serious Crime Command at London's West End Central - 27 Savile Row.

My first job in journalism was at New Musical Express - there's a shot of me with Bruce Springsteen on this page, when we were young and stepping out into the New York night wearing only our vests - but my first journalism that didn't involve hanging out with rock stars was soon after I left the NME when I was embedded with the Vice Squad at 27 Savile Row, West End Central. The roots of THE MURDER BAG start there.

When I was creating the world of Max Wolfe, I knew that one of the things I wanted to do was give my crime novel an evocative sense of place - like Los Angeles in the novels of Raymond Chandler and James Ellroy, or Edinburgh in the Rebus novels by Ian Rankin, or Brighton in the Roy Grace novels of Peter James - and my home city is London.
27 Savile Row felt like an original location - and it had a nice ring to it, like Sherlock Holmes at home strumming the violin in Baker Street. The London of THE MURDER BAG is contemporary London but the past weighs heavily because London is full of ghosts - so it is also the London of Jack the Ripper, the Krays and the Black Museum - which is Room 101 at New Scotland Yard, closed to the public, where the relics of 150 years of terrible crimes are kept to remind policemen that they risk their lives every time they go to work. The Black Museum is important to THE MURDER BAG and crucial to my detective - the Black Museum is where Max Wolfe goes to seek wisdom and guidance from a man who is to become his greatest ally. But I don't want to spoil the book...

I have loved crime fiction all my life and I know that the very best of it honours the form while adding something fresh, an unexpected twist. That's what I tried to do with THE MURDER BAG at every step of the way.

With the murderer. With his crimes. With the weapon. With the location. With The Black Museum. And most of all, with my detective - a single parent, an amateur boxer, a coffee-addicted insomniac who is a good man but who wants to be better.

Max feels very real to me, and I think that's why the book has been supported by some of the greatest thriller and crime writers in the world. If you will forgive me for a solo on my own trumpet for a second - the great Lee Child said of THE MURDER BAG: "Spectacular! Tense but human, fast but authentic - maybe this is what Tony Parsons should have been doing all along." I wanted to create a serial hero - one of those mythic characters like Sherlock Holmes or Sam Spade or Philip Marlowe or Harry Hole - so to get the nod from Lee Child is great, because nobody has created a more brilliant serial hero in recent years than Lee Child with his Jack Reacher.

A bit about me. I always knew that I would write. I knew that nothing would stop me. I always loved stories, I always found that books engaged me like nothing else, and helped me to make sense of the world.
I left school at 16, did a number of low paid unskilled jobs, and I was working on the night shift in Gordon's Gin Distillery in Islington when I was offered my first job in journalism on New Musical Express. Since then I have had my lean years as well as my good years - careers are never linear, you have to expect set-backs along the way - but I have become an award winning journalist and bestselling novelist, and my books have been published in over 40 languages, most recently Vietnamese. My semi-autobiographical novel, MAN AND BOY, won of the Book of the Year prize.
Other novels that did pretty good include ONE FOR MY BABY, MAN AND WIFE, MEN FROM THE BOYS, MY FAVOURITE WIFE and CATCHING THE SUN. Julia Roberts liked my novel THE FAMILY WAY so much that she bought the film rights. I also wrote a novel about my wild years at the NME, called STORIES WE COULD TELL, which all takes place the night that Elvis died.

But the next few years are all about Detective Max Wolfe for me. THE MURDER BAG is the first of a trilogy of crime novels featuring Max and his world - his 5-year-old daughter Scout, their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, the Black Museum and 27 Savile Row and the Max Wolfe lair - their home is a big loft that overlooks Smithfield meat market. I am currently working on the second Max Wolfe book, THE SLAUGHTER MAN, which will appear in 2015. The third Max Wolfe book will be published in 2016. I have the title and the plot but I will keep it under my hat for now.

I live in London with my wife, our daughter and our dog Stan - who has provided the model for Max Wolfe's fictional dog, also called Stan, funny enough, and who will now only speak to me through his lawyers.

I really hope that you like THE MURDER BAG. Thanks again for checking out this page, and for sticking with it to the end. Love and luck. Tony Parsons.

Product Description

Amazon Review

"Some situations to avoid when preparing for your all-important, finally-I-am-fully-grown thirtieth birthday.
Having a one-night stand with a colleague from work.
The rash purchase of luxury items you can't afford.
Being left by your wife.
Losing your job.
Suddenly becoming a single parent.

If you are coming up to 30, whatever you do, don't do any of that.
It will fuck up your whole day.

So begins Man and Boy, Tony Parson's foray into fiction. Or non-fiction. Rumoured to be a roman à clef, the well-known journalist and broadcaster writes the story of a successful TV executive who brings up his child alone after a failed marriage--much like Parson's own life.

Harry Silver, the book's anti-hero, has it all: a beautiful wife, an angelic son and a high-paying job. His life is just about perfect, until one night he casually sleeps with a slim redheaded coworker who has "that kind of fine Irish skin that is so pale it looks as though it has never seen the sun". After the fateful night, his life falls apart. He loses his job and his wife in rapid succession, and finds himself a single, unemployed parent. It is an excellent education for a man who up until now has been immature and irresponsible, and Parsons has some strong points to make about the puerility of far too many contemporary males: "Being a man is like being chained to the village idiot." At times he piles on the disasters and plot-twists a little too thickly, but the ending is wildly romantic, redemptive and optimistic. In other words, Harry grows up. -- Christopher Hart --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


‘Wistful, touching and funny, it looks back at the glory days of the family without losing hope for the future. In the end, it is a deeply touching book: a love letter to a son from his father, and to a father from his son’
Mail on Sunday

‘One of the finest books published this year… Hilarious and tear-jerking in turns’

‘Parsons has written a sharp, witty and wise book straight from his heart. His characters are all nitty-gritty, bounce-off-the-page, real people; his dialogue is brilliant’
Daily Mail

‘A touching novel… full of quiet tenderness, and written from the heart’

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Having finished this book I was left with mixed feelings. Whilst it started promisingly enough, the development of some of the characters seemed to stall a little midway through. I was left slightly confused by the actions of Gina, who claimed to be so opposed to any infidelity that she willingly threw away an apparently happy 7 year marriage, yet still felt comfortable in getting involved with a married man. I would also have expected Harry to fight a little harder to save his marriage than he actually did and the time scale in whih everything happened (just over 6 months) seemed unrealistically fast. However I still found this book to be funny, endearing and very very touching. The high point was most definitely Harry's relationship with his Father which was beautifully written and had me in floods of tears far more times that the 4 promised by a reviewer on the jacket. I've always thought of Tony Parsons as a somewhat cynical writer, so this aspect of the story came as a very pleasant surprise.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars a turgid kramer vs kramer without the flares 9 Jun 2000
By A Customer
I am a great fan of tony parsons - hence the more reason why i was terribly disappointed with the book - despite what others say i was more likely to laugh (or cry) witnessing the political angst of the teletubbies than reading this story of father losing wife, is unable to cope with job and son, loses job, boy has minor accident whilst father is mildly involved with other woman, father and son find themselves.....(fell asleep at this point).... HAven't we heard it all before?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pretty poor 3 July 2000
By A Customer
As a happily childless 23-year-old woman, who is likely to remain 'sans enfant' for some years yet, I have to conclude that either this book was completely awful or else I missed something due to my age and 'young & free' lifestyle. Do women like Gina and Cyd actually exist? I think not! Mr Parsons, what world do you live in? A world where highly intelligent women willingly sacrifice their careers to have a baby, but then throw it all away immediately at the slightest provocation without even trying to patch up what seems to be an otherwise good marriage? The same world where women who are not so intelligent but nevertheless really sweet and affable and sexy work as waitresses and name their children after ageing Eastenders characters? The women in this novel were just laughable, the author hasn't even tried to make them real.
And the descriptions of 'darling' Pat, the 'angel' with the 'eyes from tiffany', I mean, excuse me while I throw up. I'm sure fathers do think the sun shines out of their sons' rosy bottoms, but Tony/Harry really went overboard with the shameless starry-eyed adoration. However, saying that, I thought the parallels between Harry and Pat and Harry and his dad were quite good, and some parts were poignantly written. But as for crying and laughing out loud, I'm afraid the novel was just too weak and sloppy. And over-hyped. Harry was a self-obsessed bore and was too busy wallowing in self-pity to be a remotely engaging character. It's a shame because if the characters had been good and the dialogue realistic, I may have enjoyed it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing. Simplistic and insubstantial 9 Aug 1999
By A Customer
It is always surprising when someone you consider to be bright and having lived an interesting life produces such sentimental nonsense. The book offers no insights into the subject; a family break up. The characters generate no strong feelings and by the end, I was glad to be shot of them.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Cynical and calculating 10 Aug 2000
By A Customer
Although hyped as an upmarket slice of lad lit this novel is in fact as cynical a piece of writing as I've read in a long time. Almost every line seems calculated to push the reader's emotional buttons, but it's done in such a trite and clunkingly obvious way the book soon becomes extremely irritating. Parsons has obviously been told that women are mainly responsible for driving word-of-mouth book sales and appears to have sat down and thought, "Hmm, let's see, slightly vulnerable man + cute kid = big sales!" At one point the narrator's divorce lawyer says, "This isn't KRAMER VS. KRAMER, you know" but that's exactly what it is. It's transparent, predictable, not funny...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I must say I had thought that Nick Hornby had a monopoly on the new-man-finds-self-with-help-from-ankle-biter type of novel with his unerringly dreadful 'About a boy'.
But no.
Obviously, there is a huge market for politically correct nonsense. I don't know what is more annoying. The utterly unrealistic (or virtually non-existent) characterisations (which, to be fair you have to expect in a politically-correct novel); the sludgy self-indulgence of the relationship between man & boy; or the blatently obvious, sickening happy-ending.
I feel the PC novelist is a bit stuck here. He doesn't want his character to appear too PC so he shags his workmate and drives an MGF. But everything else he does is utterly PC and new-laddish. And he must give him a happy ending because otherwise all that PC drivel and finding himself stuff has been a complete waste of time.
Can no-one write a non-PC book with a really miserable ending - it would be so life-affirming.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly annoying sack of cliches 14 Aug 2001
By A Customer
I found this more annoying because so many people like it. All the time I was thinking, what are they finding here? I found it trite, shallow, obvious, cheap, predictable and dull. It's some sort of attempt to show that men are sensitive and complex, yawn. We know that already, tell me something new. Very very poor.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Man and Boy
Excellent , Very Gifted Writer ; enjoyed it immensely . Look forward to sequel .
Published 5 days ago by Mrs Ann Shirley Dulson.
5.0 out of 5 stars Man & Boy
I loved this book. Written from the heart. Was sorry when I came to the end. Would recommend it definitely.
Published 1 month ago by Sylv
3.0 out of 5 stars Overrated
Yeah well..... Why was this book so greatly feted back on the day? I know I am reading it a decade or two late, but apart from the fact that it didnt detract from my life, in that... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Godbless
2.0 out of 5 stars Please... get a grip!!!
Harry Silver is a whiny, self-obsessed media type. Aged 30, he improbably decides he's going through a mid-life crisis and proceeds to throw his life down the pan. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Cordy
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as the blurb says it is
The blurb on the book jacket has a note from some professional book reviewer saying they laughed out loud x times and cried x times. I did neither. Read more
Published 4 months ago by misty
5.0 out of 5 stars Man and Boy
A heartwarming story easy to read and very well written. This copy is a present i'm not parting with mine!
Published 7 months ago by diane
4.0 out of 5 stars Good holiday reading
Likeable characters and a happy ending. Parsons has a very readable style and tells a story of modern life and family breakdown. Read more
Published 11 months ago by john mclaughlin
5.0 out of 5 stars It's worth reading it to the end
I got this book from a friend of mine. I wasn't expecting anything after seeing quite a few negative reviews and rating here, but it turned out to be really good. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Serena Liu
1.0 out of 5 stars Absolute Drivel
An important subject for any single parent family, unfortunately treated in a banal and pointless fashion. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Piano
2.0 out of 5 stars A waste of time
I am glad I read this book as I don't read modern fiction usually and now I realise I am not necessarily missing much. Read more
Published 21 months ago by ray
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