'Before my wife - my late wife - Susie got ill, she used to say that a tidy house created a force field. Susie's housekeeping was a way of surrounding her family. Her presence was everywhere - in the drifting scent of Givenchy from the bedroom, or rosemary from the kitchen, or that lemon-scented cleaning agent coming from the bathroom. 'We miss that. Now that she's gone we live in a very different world. We are a father and two sons living in a household without women . . . We are very widely experienced in the world where boys sit on the carpet gaping at the television like cultish prisoners. We've known Sunday nights when you can't see the carpet for video boxes, takeaway packaging, clothes, plastic games, cats, goggles, guns, popcorn, plates, cutlery, papers, paintbrushes, cushions, soft toys, comics, newspapers, dart-launchers, picture books, colouring sheets, crayons, lego, and game CDs called Living Dead, Crypt, and Resident Evil 2 where innocent bystanders are eaten alive by hungry zombies.' The account of this all-male family experience is, by turns, funny, tender, anarchic, moving and very instructive about how three males of different ages and character learn from each other about how to live their lives.