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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best since Spies
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.
Published on 29 Oct 2010 by E. Moore

versus
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 through.
Published 15 months ago by La Joconde


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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best since Spies, 29 Oct 2010
By 
E. Moore "Bookmark" (East Anglia) - See all my reviews
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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.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars His Father's Smile, 19 Jan 2011
By 
Mr. James G. Thompson (London W12) - See all my reviews
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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.
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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.
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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.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, Superb, Funny, Moving, 3 Oct 2010
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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of Frayn, 31 Aug 2011
By 
D. Cheshire (Liskeard UK) - See all my reviews
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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.
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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?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A BRITISH PROUST, 20 Dec 2011
By 
Stephen Cooper (South Yorkshire, England) - See all my reviews
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshingly honest, 3 Oct 2012
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This is the story of Tom Frayn's life and the legacy that left on his son, the author. It is, as you would expect, beautifully written and a gripping read. Frayn is breathtakingly honest about his own weaknesses and his lack of understanding of his father, and indeed of other people he now understands far better than he did when they were alive. There are some great characters in this book, and they are vividly brought back to life through the gentle touch of an extremely good writer with obvious affection for them.
The good times and the bad are given equal billing, making this an emotional but entertaining book to read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 12 Dec 2011
By 
R. Davies "Richard Davies" (France) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: My Father's Fortune: A Life (Paperback)
My Father's Fortune: A Life
Although this is ostensibly the story of Frayn's father's life, it is really about Frayn himself. As such it is a fascinating record not only of an upwardly mobile family in the years leading up to, through and after the second world war, but the of the making of one our best-known and best-loved writers and playwrights. If, like me , you are old enough to remember the war and its aftermath, 'My Father's Fortune' summons up all kinds of memories of that period. A most enjoyable read.
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My Father's Fortune: A Life
My Father's Fortune: A Life by Michael Frayn (Paperback - 1 Sep 2011)
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