My Father's Fortune

A Life

By Michael Frayn
(Metropolitan Books, Hardcover, 9780805093773, 288pp.)

Publication Date: February 15, 2011

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Description

For the first time, Michael Frayn, the "master of what is seriously funny,"* turns his humor and narrative genius on his own family's story, to re-create the world that made him who he is

Whether he is deliriously funny or philosophically profound, as a novelist and a playwright Michael Frayn has concerned himself with the ordinary life lived by erring humans, which is always more extraordinary than people think. In My Father's Fortune, Frayn reveals the original exemplar of the extraordinary-ordinary life: his father, Tom Frayn.

A clever lad, a roofing salesman with a winning smile and a racetrack vocabulary, Tom Frayn emerged undaunted from a childhood spent in two rooms with six other people, all of them deaf. And undaunted he stayed, through German rockets, feckless in-laws, and his own increasing deafness; through the setback of a son as bafflingly slow-witted as the father was quick on his feet; through the shockingly sudden tragedy that darkened his life.

Tom Frayn left his son little more than three watches and two ink-and-wash prints. But the true fortune he passed on was the great humor and spirit revealed in this beguiling memoir.

* Anthony Burgess




About the Author

Michael Frayn is the author of ten novels, including the best-selling Headlong, which was a New York Times Editor's Choice selection and a Booker Prize finalist, and Spies, which received the Whitbread Fiction Award. Michael Frayn is also the author of My Father's Fortune: A Life, The Human Touch: Our Part in the Creation of a Universe, Democracy: A Play, A Landing on the Sun: A Novel, The Copenhagen Papers: An Intrigue and The Trick of It: A Novel. He has also written fifteen plays, among them Noises Off and Copenhagen, which won three Tony Awards in 1999. He lives just south of London.




NPR
Saturday, Feb 19, 2011

Acclaimed writer Michael Frayn has written a memoir about his father, a self-made roofing salesman who overcame deafness, widowhood and the two world wars. The fortune that he left behind for his son was not one of material riches, but rather a legacy of resilience, healthy skepticism and humor. More at NPR.org

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