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My Father's Fortune: A Life

Narrated by: Martin Jarvis
Length: 10 hrs and 7 mins
4 out of 5 stars (14 ratings)

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Summary

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 a charming, moving and witty childhood memoir from one of Britain’s best-loved writers.

©2010 Michael Frayn (P)2011 AudioGO Ltd

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

The son is father of the child

I seemed to have missed Michael Frayn completely before embarking on this autobiographical exploration of the relationship between a middle-class father and son double-act. A vague recollection of the name from The Guardian and a recommendation in a recent Saturday edition were enough to spark my interest.

Frayn and his dad are around 20 years in advance of my father and myself and socially in much better standing. What is really pleasing, however, are the very many small parallels that run between lives lived in slightly different times and different locations. The emotional distance of growing up and the closeness of growing old detailed in Frayn’s story were particularly warming. The trouble caused between and beyond the women in their lives once a beloved mother and wife had passed was particularly touching.

Inevitably I think, I thought about my own father - triggered by the small details. His response to certain stimuli to give a consistent opinion on things which never changed in his view (pizza was always ‘glorified cheese on toast’) delivered in a formal tone. When in the pains of cancer, Frayn’s father refers to having ‘a pain in the John-Thomas’ - which really knocked me out since it was a voice from my own past.

Overall, this is a lovely and loving book - it pulls no punches in portraying the irritations of family life, but concludes that we are all made better by having the love of a father to surround us.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Well written but slightly unsatisfying

Any additional comments?

Michael Frayn is one of my favourite authors. His novel Headlong is masterful. The others are nearly as good. Here he writes well but I felt he was making too much of tiny events and wallowing in nostalgia

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Moving

A beautiful and moving book, made even better by the narration. I'm envious of Frayn's children, having such an eloquent description of their family history!