Released on 09 March 2017.

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Fathers and Sons

3.52 based on 35 ratings & 9 reviews on


Was he thinking, do I have to be this kind of boy to survive? Is this what being a boy is?

As a boy growing up on the south coast of England, Howard Cunnell's sense of self was dominated by his father's absence. Now, years later, he is a father, and his daughter is becoming his son.

Starting with his own childhood in the Sussex beachlands, Howard tells the story of the years of self-destruction that defined his young adulthood and the escape he found in reading and the natural world. Still he felt compelled to destroy the relationships that mattered to him.

Saved by love and responsibility, Cunnell charts his journey from anger to compassion, as his daughter Jay realizes he is a boy, and a son.

Most of all, this is a story about love - its necessity and fragility, and its unequalled capacity to enable us to be who we are.

Deeply thoughtful, searingly honest and exquisitely lyrical, Fathers & Sons is an exploration of fatherhood, masculinity, authenticity and family.

In the media

Fathers & Sons will be one of 2017's most memorable memoirs . . . Concise and beautifully written, it is an unforgettable exploration of fatherhood, masculinity and family
Spell-binding, life force of a memoir . . . For this book is all kinds of exceptional: an urgent, agonising exploration of fatherhood, masculinity and family; a testament to the power of the written word to reach out to us in dark times; and, above all, a hymn to the "shaping axe" of human love: motherly love, sibling love, erotic love, and ultimately, the transcending love of a father for a child, his in all but biology. And how, fragile as it may sometimes seem, that love can conquer a whole sea of strife.
The Bookseller
Dazzlingly beautiful...this is truly heart-stopping writing
Financial Times