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Mr Toppit by Charles Elton
  

Good Housekeeping's view...

Reviewed on Richard & Judy on Wednesday 3 June 2009.

Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 26 February 2009.

February 2009 Good Housekeeping selection.

If this book becomes a film – not unlikely given its author’s credentials as a TV drama producer – the hauntingly magical composer Danny Elfman (Edward Scissorhands, Desperate Housewives) would be top choice for the soundtrack. This strangely spirited tale of what happens to the family of children’s author Arthur Hayman in the wake of his demise under a cement mixer is blown along with a powerful gust of black humour. Hayman’s fictional Mr Toppit has a malevolence, real or imagined, which inveigles all who know him.

Lovereading view...

Fantastic characterisation and plotlines make this an unputdownable read. A brilliant satire on celebrity culture, thoroughly recommended.

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Synopsis

Mr Toppit by Charles Elton

When the author of The Hayseed Chronicles, Arthur Hayman, is mown down by a concrete truck in Soho, his legacy passes to his widow, Martha, and her children - the fragile Rachel, and Luke, reluctantly immortalised as Luke Hayseed, the central character of his father's books. But others want their share, particularly Laurie, who has a mysterious agenda of her own that changes all their lives. For buried deep in the books lie secrets which threaten to be revealed as the family begins to crumble under the heavy burden of their inheritance.

Spanning several decades, from the heyday of the British film industry after the war to the cut-throat world of show business in Los Angeles, Mr Toppit is a riveting tale of the unexpected effects of sudden fame and fortune. Not since Jonathan Coe's What a Carve Up! has a novel managed to capture a family and a society to such wonderfully funny and painful effect.

Reviews

'The plot's a cracker ... Elton has an arch wit, an engaging style and a sense of invention that recalls Jonathan Coe'
Evening Standard

'Poignant and engaging'
Mail on Sunday

'Narrated with wit and vigor. Elton is a brilliant observer'
Vogue

About the Author

Charles Elton worked as a designer and editor in publishing before becoming a director of the literary agency, Curtis Brown. Since 1991 he has worked in television and has been Executive Producer in drama at ITV since 2000. Among his productions are the Oscar-nominated short Syrup, The Railway Children, Andrew Davies' adaptation of Northanger Abbey and the recent series Time Of Your Life.

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Book Info

Publication date

30th April 2009

Author

Charles Elton

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Publisher

Penguin Books Ltd

Format

Paperback
352 pages

Categories

Family Drama
Literary Fiction
Reading Groups
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eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9780141038001

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