Man and Boy: A Novel

Man and Boy: A Novel

4.7 24
by Tony Parsons
     
 

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Meet Harry Silver: a man who has everything going for him before the age of thirty: a killer job as a late-night TV producer, a beautiful wife, a four-year-old son, a shiny new red sports car...until one night, when an irrational decision causes him to lose everything. Now Harry must face the myriad, baffling questions of suddenly single fatherhood, such as "how do… See more details below

Overview

Meet Harry Silver: a man who has everything going for him before the age of thirty: a killer job as a late-night TV producer, a beautiful wife, a four-year-old son, a shiny new red sports car...until one night, when an irrational decision causes him to lose everything. Now Harry must face the myriad, baffling questions of suddenly single fatherhood, such as "how do you wash a 4-year-old's hair?" and "should he eat green spaghetti for breakfast?" In this poignant, witty story, Harry is froced not only raise his child alone, but to look after his parents, make a living, and somehow, someway, try to survive in this brave new world.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The theme of this alternately wry and maudlin debut from London writer Parsons "love means knowing when to let go" won't make Love Story's mantra obsolete, but this novel shimmers with a sentimentality that could appeal widely to those who enjoyed Segal's romance classic and to their progeny. On the eve of his 30th birthday, Harry Silver blows everything by indulging in a one-night stand with a young assistant on the English TV talk show he produces. When Harry's wife, Gina, discovers his adultery, she jets off immediately to pursue job opportunities in Japan, leaving Harry in temporary custody of their adorable four-year-old son, Pat. Parsons captures the free-floating angst of a man who senses his horizons constricting and the panic of a suddenly single father confronting the issues of child care. Harry's misery is compounded by the subsequent loss of his job; his conviction that he's failed his own loving father, a WWII war hero; and the reluctance of the new woman in his life, an American waitress, to commit emotionally to him. Parsons knows how to pace his pages turn as if in a high wind and he has a flair for pushing emotional buttons, perhaps particularly those of men on the far side of 30 or singledom. Many readers will love this novel; others will decry its obvious calculation, but most will agree that Parson deals in a highly entertaining manner with personal issues of import and that, more often than not, he tells it very true. (Apr.) Forecast: This novel has ridden English bestseller lists for about half a year, with 500,000 copies sold in the U.K. alone. Will it duplicate that success here? It might. Parsons is a media celebrity in England, and British audiences familiar with or curious about his personal life (he received custody of his son after a divorce, and his father was a war hero) boosted sales there. But Sourcebooks is going all out with this title which launches its fiction imprint, Sourcebooks Landmark with a 50,000 first printing and three national tours in 20 cities, as well as 10,000 companion discussion guides. The book is also a Literary Guild Featured Alternate. Most importantly, it's the kind of novel that can soar on good word of mouth which it's going to get, and a lot of it. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
As Harry Silver approaches his 30th birthday, persistent feelings of dissatisfaction nag at him despite his blissful marriage to a beautiful woman, his adorable four-year old son, and his good living as a television producer. So why does Harry feel that a red sports car could assuage those niggling fears that life is passing him by, that missed opportunities outweigh the tranquility and stability of his present life, and that his youth is all but gone? The decision to buy the red sports car is Harry's first major mistake; the really big one is the one-night stand he has with a female associate producer, which costs him his marriage. Ranging from poignant and heartbreaking to witty and uproariously funny, Harry's adventures are a triumph of storytelling. Set in Britain, this is, however, a story with universal appeal and apropos of today's splintered relationships, with children as the innocent victims. It is delightfully narrated by Gerard Doyle, who moves easily from one gender to the other, and from child to adult seamlessly. Highly recommended for all public library audio collections. Gloria Maxwell, Penn Valley Community Coll., Kansas City, MO Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
USA Today Set your other books aside for a day or two and read straight through Man and Boy.

Kyle Smith People Utterly irresistible.

Sherryl Connelly New York Daily News Every generation has hungered for a heartfelt novel in which a father discovers what it is to be a mother. Man and Boy [is] a witty, often sweet novel that adeptly sorts immature men from true fathers.

Robin Vidimos Denver Post Tony Parsons's first novel, Man and Boy, hits like a series of quick jabs to the heart....A novel that is one in a million.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786237241
Publisher:
Cengage Gale
Publication date:
02/01/2002
Edition description:
LARGEPRINT
Pages:
346
Product dimensions:
5.92(w) x 8.16(h) x 1.07(d)

Read an Excerpt

the most beautiful boy in the world

It's a boy, it's a boy!

It's a little boy.

I look at this baby-as bald, wrinkled, and scrunched up as an old man-and something chemical happens inside me.

It-I mean he-looks like the most beautiful baby in the history of the world. Is it-he-really the most beautiful baby in the history of the world? Or is that just my biological programming kicking in? Does everyone feel this way? Even people with plain babies? Is our baby really so beautiful?

I honestly can't tell.

The baby is sleeping in the arms of the woman I love. I sit on the edge of the bed and stare at the pair of them, feeling like I belong in this room with this woman and this baby in a way that I have never belonged anywhere.

After all the excitement of the last twenty-four hours, I am suddenly overwhelmed, feeling something-gratitude, happiness, love-well up inside me and threaten to spill out.

I am afraid that I am going to disgrace myself-spoil everything, smudge the moment-with tears. But then the baby wakes up and starts squawking for food and we-me and the woman I love-laugh out loud, laugh with shock and wonder.

It's a small miracle. And although we can't escape the reality of everyday life-when do I have to get back to work?-the day is glazed with real magic. We don't really talk about the magic. But we can feel it all around.

Later my parents are there. When she is done with the hugs and kisses, my mother counts the baby's fingers and toes, checking for webbed feet. But he is fine, the baby is fine.

"He's a little smasher," my mom says. "A little smasher!"

My father looks at the baby and something inside him seems to melt.

There are many good things about my father, but he is not a soft man, he is not a sentimental man. He doesn't gurgle and coo over babies in the street. My father is a good man, but the things he has gone through in his life mean that he is also a hard man. But today some ice deep inside him begins to crack and I can tell he feels it too.

This is the most beautiful baby in the world.

I give my father a bottle I bought months ago. It is bourbon. My father only drinks beer and whiskey but he takes the bottle with a big grin on his face. The label on the bottle says Old Granddad. That's him. That's my father.

And I know today that I have become more like him. Today I am a father too. All the supposed landmarks of manhood-losing my virginity, getting my driving license, voting for the first time-were all just the outer suburbs of my youth. I went through all those things and came out the other side fundamentally unchanged, still a boy.

But now I have helped to bring another human being into the world.

Today I became what my father has been forever.

Today I became a man.

I am twenty-five years old.

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