An Oprah Book of The Week. In her fourth book award-winning Man Booker longlisted British author Louise Dean sings a hymn to England in this dark comedy hailed by reviewers as 'extremely funny' with 'a clever plot and plenty of surprises.'
Meet Ken. He's obsessed with death, planning his own funeral and desperate to die in the bosom of his family. Unfortunately for Ken, that's the last place his family wants him.
His oldest son Nick left home over twenty years ago and reinvented himself. At forty, he has returned home to Kent, and found happiness with his girlfriend Astrid and her twelve-year-old daughter Laura, and he doesn't want the old man to spoil things. He's come a long way; he's a professional, a country gent, a family man. But the past is coming back for Nick and it won't let him be.
‘Louise Dean's fearless, frank and darkly comic novels have brought a fresh colour and character to English fiction.' Boyd Tonkin, The Independent.
'Dark, scurrilous and richly comic. There is so much to treasure in this terrific book, but its deepest joy is the sharp, perceptive writing.' Financial Times
'Very appealing...so vivid are the quintessentially British characters and the snappy, well-observed dialogue. Delightful, eccentric...' The Observer
'Dean's observations have a lyrical intensity few can match.' The Guardian
'A warm-hearted comedy of bad manners.' Daily Mail
'Like its predecessors, it channels the rough music of everyday life for non-Bloomsbury folk with a tragicomic subtlety, a pin-sharp ear for dialogue and a flair for every nuance of character and class. Beneath the mordant delights of observation lies a sharp awareness of the grander themes – love, selfhood, family, freedom and above all death – that haunt minds and shape lives in Kentish cottages, and executive-style new-build homes, as much as Kentish castles. Admirers of Beryl Bainbridge still grieving her loss should find solace here.' Boyd Tonkin, The Independent
‘Dean writes with beautifully controlled clarity about family ties, social class, the generation gap and the vanished England of the past. She's extremely funny, but also humane and moving.’ The Times
'Dean is able to demonstrate her unobtrusive skill as the creator of comic set-pieces...painfully funny. A clever plot and plenty of surprises.' The Sunday Times