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Catching the Sun Paperback – 7 Jun 2012

3.2 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (7 Jun. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007327811
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007327812
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.4 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 22,786 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

‘Simmering beneath the dazzling sunlight there are gritty undercurrents aplenty’ Express

‘The prose seamlessly pulls you along…a lasting novel about belief and longing’ Daily Mirror

‘A love letter to Thailand’ BBC

‘ … a simple yet effective story, exploring the incessant search for happiness and what people will do to secure it’ Irish Examiner

‘Tony Parson's great skill is that he can cut to the core of relationships’ The Book Bag

‘[The Finn Family] soon discover the start truth behind the tourist-brochure ‘holiday paradise’ image, before emerging emotionally stronger from the strains of their relocation’ Sunday Times

About the Author

Tony Parsons is the author of Man and Boy , winner of the Book of the Year prize. His subsequent novels – One For My Baby, Man and Wife, The Family Way, Stories We Could Tell, My Favourite Wife, Starting Over and Men from the Boys were all bestsellers. In summer 2011 he was Writer-in-Residence at London Heathrow, and his first book of short stories, Departures, is based on the experience. He has written a novella about pirates for Quick Reads – Beyond the Bounty.


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Format: Paperback
Catching the Sun
This book leaves the reader feeling frustrated as though having been invited to a friend's house and then ignored for the duration. We don't get to know the characters as we are given nothing. The characterisation is one dimensional and repetitive. The style is rather like reportage with some overblown descriptions of place. The storyline provides lots of opportunities to develop the main characters which are systematically ignored, sometimes blatantly. How could the author tell us that the main character is bitten by a gibbon and then proceed to tell us that the gibbon is to be tested for HIV but follow with absolutely nothing of what Tom might feel or think about such a situation? There is no depth. The first page tells us that Rory is lying on his front in the sand with a book in his lap! How does that work then? Was there an editor at HarperCollins looking after this book, or was it an experiment in publishing a book without an editor? We are also given rudimentary and patronising lessons in the societal issues of Thai beach culture, such as how the bar girls are exploited by rich foreign businessmen, yes thanks I think we knew that. I could go on but you get my drift. Disappointing.
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Format: Paperback
It rolls along as a story but never seems to get anywhere. There were no particular questions answered. There was little power of emotion or description. Despite incorporating the most devastating natural disaster to afflict humanity in modern times this seemed to fall rapidly into the background within a few pages. Some concrete details just weren't realistic or accurate. (For example, the never ending pallets of water bottles or his stored petrol in his hut ... for his, ahem, diesel powered motorbike!)

Here's the story to save you some time and money: The family had some problems in the UK so chose to live in Thailand for a while ... we note that Thailand is different to the UK ... some (mostly unlikely) events took place, and without any particular good reason they decide to go back home.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I heard the author on radio 2 talking about this book and having been to Thailand on a number of occasions ordered the book as it sounded like something I would enjoy. The book is very easy reading but ultimately unbelieveable and one-dimensional.
There is little depth to the characters and the story unfolds with many cliches and things that just do not make sense.
I found it really hard to believe what the author ws trying to tell me. Disappointed.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Have been a Tony Parsons fan since the early days. Man and Boy absolutely blew me away. Had the pleasure of meeting Mr Parsons at the Time Out book club a couple of years ago which only enforced my opinion of the man and his works. Rather sadly I feel his last couple of books have gradually gotten worse, to the point that I never even bothered to finish this one, which is something I couldn't have comprehended a couple of years ago. I feel like I have lost my favourite author. The story splutters along, often backfiring, the characters do not develop, and the usual heart rendering emotional moments are missing.
No doubt I will still pre-order the next and await in anticipation for delivery, I just hope he is back to his best.
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Format: Paperback
Like everyone else, I loved 'Man and Boy' and keep hoping for a similar read from Tony Parsons. I've read each of his books since and this was probably the least interesting yet. Unlike some other reviewers, I liked the setting and thought it was described well but I couldn't become interested in the characters. The narrator's children were meant to be cute but the boy was so irritating and both came across as much older than they were. Unrealistic dialogue and the plot wasn't much better. What a shame.
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Format: Paperback
I hate starting a book and not finishing it ... so I struggled through this one to the end ... and it really was so bad that it felt painful to read. Anybody who has spent any time in Thailand will cringe at the picture painted of life here ... really really disappointing book.
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Format: Paperback
Catching the Sun is a boring, mind-numbingly simple and idealistic tale of a family who flee recession-hit Britain, after their house is robbed by chavs (naturally, eugh), and head to Thailand, where Tom has been offered a driving job. Their neighbours are, naturally, adorable - operating a seafood restaurant on the beach, where the wife cooks and serves, while the husband goes out to fish for the menu in his traditional boat. Tom's wife, Tania, is a school teacher and spends her days tutoring their two children, Rory and Keeva, as well as some unruly Thai kids, from bad neighbourhoods. Unfortunately for the Finn family, it turns out that the company Tom has found employment with turns out to be involved in some pretty shady property deals, and Tom ends up in a Thai prison for a brief spell. Another bad moment arrives in the form of a brutal tsunami, which kills thousands around the world and destroys the village in which they live.

Catching the Sun is a thinly-veiled attack on Britain in the most stereotypical, hackneyed fashion - an attempt, on Parsons' part, of tapping into the currently trending notion that Britain is faulty, spineless and populated with crazed youths out to kill the middle classes. For a writer of his talents, I was deeply disappointed with the quality of the plot, the writing and the characterisation on display in this book. It can't even be described as harmless holiday fluff, because I think Parsons does Thailand, as well as the UK, a disservice here too, in his reliance on stereotypes (nasty Thai prisons, Thai brides, women besotted with Western money, almost feral children in need of teaching), etc - really rather unsavoury, lazy stuff.
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