'An unknown place.' This was what Michael Frayn's children called the shadowy landscape of the past from which their family had emerged. In this book he sets out to rediscover that lost land before all trace of it finally disappears beyond recall. As he tries to see it through the eyes his parents and the others who shaped his life, he comes to realise how little he ever knew or understood about them.
This is above all the story of his father, the quick-witted boy from a poor and struggling family, who overcame so many disadvantages and shouldered so many burdens to make a go of his life; who found happiness, had it snatched away from him in a single instant, and in the end, after many difficulties, perhaps found it again.
Father and son were in some odd ways ridiculously alike, in others ridiculously different; and the journey back down the corridors of time is sometimes comic, sometimes painful, as Michael Frayn comes to see how much he has inherited from his father - and makes one or two surprising discoveries about both of them along the way . . .