And When Did You Last See Your Father? Paperback
First published in 1993, Blake Morrison's "And When Did You Last See Your Father?" is an extraordinary portrait of family life, father-son relationships and bereavement.
It became a bestseller, and inspired a whole genre of confessional memoirs.
This new edition includes a new afterword by the author."And When Did You Last See Your Father?" won the Waterstone's/Volvo/Esquire Award for Non-Fiction and the JR Ackerley Prize for Autobiography, 1993.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 224 pages
- Publisher: Granta Books
- Publication Date: 01/10/2007
- Category: Autobiography: literary
- ISBN: 9781862079786
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Review by SandDune
This is a thoughtful and perceptive reflection on the life, and particularly on the death, of the author's father. But unlike many books of this type, this isn't a picture of a dysfunctional family or unhappy childhood: the relationship between Morrison and his father was ultimately a loving one, although one fraught with frustrations.Blake Morrison was born around 1950 into a prosperous family: both his parents were doctors in partnership in general practice in a small town in Yorkshire. His father was a larger than life character, perhaps not quite the respectable character that his position might suggest:'This is the way it was with my father. Minor duplicities. Little fiddles. Money-saving, privilege-attaining fragments of opportunism. The queue-jump, the backhander, the deal under the table. Parking where you shouldn't, drinking after hours, accepting the poached pheasant and the hoods off the back of a lorry.'What Morrison captures wonderfully is the rivalry, whether physical or otherwise, between father and son, as the one ages and the other grows. And there are some truly funny moments as the son attempts to deal with some of the excesses of his father's behaviour. But what makes the book stand out are Morrison's reflections on his father's death from inoperable cancer at the age of 75. Morrison depicts each stage in the decline in his father's physical condition with unusual clarity, but rather than being unnecessarily graphic , this is done in a very tender and moving way. When we discussed this book at my RL book club all but one of the members really enjoyed it. Several people found the description of the realities of death, and of the family's reaction to death, incredibly moving.