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
‘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’
‘A touching novel… full of quiet tenderness, and written from the heart’
From the Back Cover
What does the man who has everything give himself for a birthday present? Harry Silver is considering a red sports car. He already has a beautiful wife, a wonderful child, a good salary from a job he enjoys in the fast-moving world of television.
Then, in a moment of infidelity, Harry throws it all away and in losing his marriage, he comes to see that his life has not always been the simple picture it might have appeared.
His son Pat is upset and afraid at the turn of events, and Harry comes to rely on his own parents for help, at the same time examining the role they have played in his life – so much that he always took for granted, or didn’t understand. In particular, his father, the war hero and traditionalist, now looms large in Harry’s life. Can he ever live up to the old man’s standards?
Without his wife Gina, Harry starts to think about what they both needed from each other, what they might find in someone else, where the responsibility lies for so much pain.
And Harry has to live. In the turmoil that his life has become, he has to bring up his child, look after his parents, work out his relationships and hold down a job.
As millions of women have discovered before him, that is not as easy as it looked before.
'Man and Boy' is by turns funny, sharp, warm and sad. It is a brilliantly engaging novel of modern manners from one of the most gifted and influential commentators writing today.
About the Author
Tony Parsons is the author of Man and Boy , winner of the Book of the Year prize. His subsequent novels – One For My Baby, Man and Wife, The Family Way, Stories We Could Tell and My Favourite Wife – were all bestsellers. He lives in London.