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.