Nick is 36 and he's still going on holiday with his Mum and Dad. ButWhat We Did on Our Holiday
is no ordinary outing. The health and sanity of his elderly parents are retreating rapidly, and this may be their final sojourn in the sun. Nick takes them to Malta, a cherished spot in his father's wartime memories, and in doing so unleashes an army of skeletons from the family cupboard.
Meanwhile, Nick's wife Laura has a biological clock louder than Big Ben--and she is determined to become pregnant. Nick is equally determined--by foul means or fair--to avoid fatherhood, and enlists an array of unconventional contraceptive methods, including sunburn, a saucepan of Horlicks and a loaded turkey baster. None of these, however, cause quite so much chaos as Anthony Spiteri, the debonair Maltese businessman claiming kinship with Nick's family.
Harding has crafted a witty and original plot which tackles the awkward aspects of old age in a voice that is refreshingly honest. He paints a touching and sensitive picture of a couple in their final years, but avoids sentimentality. Nick's mother is 18 stone and worries she will waste away if she misses breakfast. His father meanwhile, terminally constipated and rarely intelligible, wields the word "toilet" as his one remaining weapon. The humour--centred around funny foreigners, bowel movements and sex--is very British, but this is far from a cosy book, and its conclusion is as moving as it is unpredictable. --Matthew Baylis
"'A wonderfully funny, original and moving novel...Harding has knife-sharp observation, immaculate timing, and the guts to take his story as far as it will go'" -- Helen Dunmore "'Poignant, hilarious and ultimately deeply moving...a real page turner...a wonderful novel'" -- Marika Cobbold "'Beautifully crafted...the perfect marriage of humour and heart'" -- Glenn Patterson "'A wonderful novel...written with great humour and a rare generosity of spirit. Truly original'" -- Deborah Moggach