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My Father's Fortune: A Life by Michael Frayn
  

Sue Baker's view...

Shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award 2010.

Costa Book Awards 2010 Judges' comment:
"A delightful and wholly unsentimental memoir that balances beautifully the twin responses of tears and laughter."

Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 4 November 2010.

Shifting from personal recollection to documentary sources, family anecdotes to historical records, Michael Frayn’s autobiographical record is a superb look at family relationships and growing up. His father, the central pivot of the book, is wonderfully observed and we are given a portrait of a man who by force of personality, ability and drive journeyed far from the poverty that marked his early life. Written at the insistence of his own children, Michael Frayn’s book is also a gift to his father, Tom Frayn, a seemingly ordinary man in the crowd, made extraordinary by this memoir. Has to be one of my books of the year.

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Synopsis

My Father's Fortune: A Life by Michael Frayn

'An unknown place'. This was what Michael Frayn's children called the shadowy landscape of the past from which their family had emerged. In this book, he sets out to rediscover that lost land before all trace of it finally disappears beyond recall. As he tries to see it through the eyes his parents and the others who shaped his life, he comes to realise how little he ever knew or understood about them. This is above all the story of his father, the quick-witted boy from a poor and struggling family, who overcame so many disadvantages and shouldered so many burdens to make a go of his life; who found happiness, had it snatched away from him in a single instant, and in the end, after many difficulties, perhaps found it again. Father and son were in some odd ways ridiculously alike, in others ridiculously different; and the journey back down the corridors of time is sometimes comic, sometimes painful, as Michael Frayn comes to see how much he has inherited from his father - and makes one or two surprising discoveries about both of them along the way...

About the Author

Michael Frayn

Michael Frayn was born in London in 1933 and began his career as a journalist on the Guardian and the Observer. His novels include Towards the End of the Morning, The Trick of It and A Landing on the Sun. Headlong (1999) was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, while his most recent novel, Spies (2002), won the Whitbread Novel Award. His fifteen plays range from Noises Off to Copenhagen and most recently Afterlife. A collection of his travel writing, Travels with a Typewriter, was published in 2009, and a memoir, My Father's Fortune, in 2010. In April 2012 Michael Frayn was awarded the Sky Arts South Bank Lifetime Achievement award. He is married to the writer Claire Tomalin.

Author photo © Ekko von Schwichow

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Book Info

Publication date

2nd September 2010

Author

Michael Frayn

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Publisher

Faber and Faber

Format

Hardback
256 pages

Categories

Biography / Autobiography
eBook Favourites

Memoirs

ISBN

9780571270583

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