Start reading My Father's Fortune: A Life on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here or start reading now with a free Kindle Reading App.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device


Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.
My Father's Fortune: A Life

My Father's Fortune: A Life [Kindle Edition]

Michael Frayn
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
Kindle Price: £4.79 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
You Save: £4.20 (47%)
* Unlike print books, digital books are subject to VAT.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition £4.79  
Hardcover £11.49  
Paperback £5.32  
Audio, CD --  
Audio Download, Unabridged £17.25 or Free with 30-day free trial
Kindle Summer Sale: Over 500 Books from £0.99
Have you seen the Kindle Summer Sale yet? Browse selected books from popular authors and debut novelists, including new releases and bestsellers. Learn more

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Purchase any Kindle Book sold by and receive £1 credit to try out our Digital Music Store. Here's how (terms and conditions apply)

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

Product Description


'Often funny, sometimes painful, but always exquisitely well written, it reveals the extraordinariness that can lurk in even the most ordinary of lives.'

Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, Sunday Telegraph

'A masterpiece . . . Frayn has never written with more searching brilliance than in this quest for his past.' --Peter Kemp, Sunday Times

'This is . . . a beautiful, deeply felt-book . . . It's the kind of testimony that many of us wish too late our parents had left us and, as such, admirably complete.' --Benedict Nightingale, The Times

'What Frayn presents us with is an effort to establish his own identity by exploring 'the unknown place' represented in his origins. It is, as one would expect from so accomplished a writer, beautifully done . . . he is wonderfully good on atmosphere.' --New Statesman

Book Description

A charming, moving and witty childhood memoir from one of Britain's best-loved writers.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1335 KB
  • Print Length: 277 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0571270581
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber Non Fiction; 1st edition (2 Sep 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0042JSPRK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #109,472 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best since Spies 29 Oct 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Got really hooked on Michael Frayns books after reading Spies, which was such a beautifully written book filled with
nostalgia but not overly sentimental. This book I feel in written much the same vein and it evokes such vivid recollections you can almost smell the time and places it was written about.

If you enjoyed Spies this will not disappoint.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars His Father's Smile 19 Jan 2011
How to review this marvellous, honest memoir without divulging too many story-salient facts? Frayn writes with an effortlessly light touch, but as we read, we learn that he has carried out considerable research, in registry offices, censuses and from family members. Charmer Tom Frayn turns out to be a stoic, nothing less, and heroic, too. To die practically penniless, yet having paid his way, given the world Michael and his sister, and smiled throughout, is truly a life worth saluting. And Michael Frayn - for all his scholarliness - relates all the pain, the love, the loss, and acknowledges his debts. The result is a heartfelt tribute. Wonderful.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Events and Emotions 26 Mar 2011
This memoir creeps up on you. At first I found it hard to separate the characters and stories of all the parents, grandparents and other relatives that were floating around at the turn of the nineteenth/twentieth centuries, but I suppose that's an aspect of lots of biographies. Slowly, though, definitive people emerge from the mist, and of course, Mr Frayn senior is the most colourful. The first question for the reader is why the title focuses on him alone rather than his wife as well, but the end of Part One answers that with a bang. Part Two is an effective social history of post-war England, and as his father's hearing starts to fade you get a real sense of Michael's relationship with him strengthening - through family bereavements, marriages, education, adolescence, careers, and eventually, new lives. Those are the 'events' but then there are all the father/son emotions - expectation, ambition, disappointment, embarrassment and pride. The real success, though, is the way the book tells all our stories, and the fact that the reader starts out perhaps a little indifferent to the subject of the tale, but ends up feeling a real sense of loss when he dies. That sense of not fully appreciating someone until it's (almost) too late couldn't be expressed more powerfully.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A father's life - beautifully remembered 7 Dec 2010
Having enjoyed Michael Frayn's novel Spies I was really looking forward to this auto/biography. It was both a beautifully created portrait of a father brought up in difficult circumstances who nonetheless managed to overcome an inauspcious start in life, tragedy and disability in later life. At the same time Frayn dscribes his own childhood, adolescents and parenthood acutely. My husband is of a similar age; having grown up in Surrey and with not dissimmilar family dynamics said it bought early periods of his life flooding back. Like many children it is only with the benefit of hindsight and experience with one's own children that you realise the worth of your own parents. This honest wart's and all picture of Tom Frayn made him intensely human and warm - a man you would have liked to have known. Frayn's structure and style take you effortlessly back to life before, during and after the war and the daily struggles of surviving Hitler, V1s, growing up and family life. We miss them when they are gone and while reading this thoroughly enjoyable book, I was not disappointed, there were moments when I reflected on my own Dad who I never valued enough when he was alive.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, Superb, Funny, Moving 3 Oct 2010
By T
Any fan of Frayn will enjoy this book tremendously. For a non-fan, there is no bad book to be introduced to the amazing wit and sly observations of Michael Frayn. His writing is so terrific the pages turn effortlessly. As for the subject of this book, it is a wonderful story about a family.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of Frayn 31 Aug 2011
I read this thinking it would be a conventional sort of family history, a cruise through the census records etc. How wrong I was! It's much more an extended and proufound meditation on memory. It's about both the things about your immediate family and friends you remember but also the things you later realise you missed or tuned out or just neglected to bother with because you were too obssessed with the full-time business of growing up. The honesty and perceptiveness of this amazing exploration of his early years make this an emotional and heartfelt memoir of a new and more intense kind. Simply a beautiful, must-read book.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Treat 4 Oct 2010
Having read and loved "Spies", I had to read My Father's Fortune, which is not really a biography of Frayn's father, more of his own early years, and a delight. However, there are a number of literals in here, which is a shame. What has become of editing within publishing houses?
Was this review helpful to you?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A BRITISH PROUST 20 Dec 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
This is a factual account of Michael Frayn's father, and of his own early life. Everyone may have at least one book in them, and many of those books will be family memoirs; but the difference here is that Frayn knows how to write and that in some ways he had a highly unusual life. Reading the memoir brought back my own childhood, though my circumstances were very different.

I particularly like the description of the central importance of smoking in British life, prior to say 1960, when the fear of lung cancer started to undermine it. It was an innocent world, where there were no 'health warnings' and where we all used to give the grownups special cigarettes, and lighters, and cigarette cases for Christmas; and the family GP offered cigarettes while visiting sick relatives. 'It helps you to relax', he would say.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't believe the reviews, pompous gits
Not what I was expecting totally underwhelmed if this is the best that Britain has to offer ,God help the rest of the World
Published 28 days ago by Brian Taylor
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
One expects a good book from this author
And this doesn't let him down
Published 1 month ago by W R R Haines
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this story ...
....all of it. The honesty with which the strains, habits and nuances of families is wonderful. I am a long standing Frayn fan and his writing is just as funny, touching and clever... Read more
Published 3 months ago by J. E. Birch
4.0 out of 5 stars Stays with you
Thank you Mr Frayn for such a wonderful memoir.

Like stepping into a different world- his father's profound deafness and the way this never stopped him from providing... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Bryonyreadsbooks
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor condition
This book was described as being in very good condition. It had crumpled pages and dried food stuck to the cover.
Published 7 months ago by Mrs P Coleman
5.0 out of 5 stars Frayn does it again
I've been a fan of Michael Frayn's since I was about sixteen and lucky enough to come across his columns in the old Manchester Guardian. Read more
Published 13 months ago by A. Rothwell
5.0 out of 5 stars Michael Frayn's life of his father.
Wonderfully written and evocative of lost years. A moving portrait of a good man. It might enable others to detail their relationship with a parent
Published 13 months ago by Mrs. K. E. Smtih
3.0 out of 5 stars A family memoir
A well-written piece of social history, evoking memories for me of London in the forties and fifties, but it was like so many other stories in this genre and I got bored halfway... Read more
Published 14 months ago by La Joconde
4.0 out of 5 stars A better writer than the subject in the title?
I think it's not excusable in an author to write for publication what is virtually an autobiography, and state repeatedly that one's behaviour and actions at important times of... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Derek Jeary
5.0 out of 5 stars gentle genius!
A wonderful, moving memoir, beautifully written; a fine tribute to his father. It traces the overcoming of inter-generational conflict at a time when the grammar schools enabled... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Austen
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Popular Highlights

 (What's this?)
Another of my unpaid debts, another of the generosities that I have benefited from, and have never either repaid or matched. &quote;
Highlighted by 3 Kindle users
No one thinks we will get abused or murdered; all the abusers and murderers are in the services, abusing and murdering someone else. &quote;
Highlighted by 3 Kindle users
To me personally he left a fortune – an intangible and unrecorded legacy more precious than money or anything he might ever have written down. The humour he used to deal with his customers and circumvent his deafness; his indifference to all systems of belief; the smile on his face that I sometimes find so disconcertingly on mine. My very existence, in the first place, of course – and the beginnings of a life that turned out to be so much easier than &quote;
Highlighted by 3 Kindle users

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for similar items by category