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Book review: And when did you last see your father?


And when did you last see your father? Blake Morrison. Granta £6.99. ISBN 01 401 407 43.

Your indoor games editor has found a book which charms, which is real and which makes you think. The title comes from the 1873 painting by WF Yeames.

The book is about the final illness of a northern (Colne) GP, written by his son. Mother too was a GP. But the book isn't really about the illness, it's about his life. It's about a hands-on GP, a powerful personality, seen through his son's eyes at different ages.

There is a beautiful depiction of childhood embarrassment, when father decides to jump the queue at Oulton Park by waving his medical colours and the children have to slither with embarrassment under the back seat. There is the delight of father knows best, here played on the DIY stage. There is the ambiguity of another woman in the father's life. Above all there is the serious meat of the end of a life, and how the different family members behave. All written with whatever is the opposite of schmaltz. Read, identify and enjoy.



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