Ignore the unpleasant title and the boring sounding blurb on the back. This is a really lovely book that reminded me of an on-form Kate Atkinson, but less dreamy and with bolder, funnier characters. The story zips back and forward in time and location, from Empire Malaya to WWII Wales, British Hong Kong, '30s Oxford and modern suburbia. There's even a rather bizarre episode featuring Queen Mary. The plot gently unfolds, but it's somehow quietly gripping, as we see a sad and unloved little boy grow into a successful adult, with all the trappings of success, yet lots of demons locked inside. One of the best books I've read in a long time.