Frank Allcroft, a regional TV news presenter, has just had a ratings boost. His puns, a website declares, makes him ‘the unfunniest man on God’s Earth’. Mortified colleagues wonder how he stands being a public joke.
But Frank doesn’t mind. As long as Andrea and Mo, his wife and eight-year-old daughter, are happy, who gives a stuff what others think? Besides, Frank has a couple of other matters on his mind.
He has taken to investigating the death of Phil, his (actually quite funny) predecessor, killed in a mysterious hit and run six months ago. Also, he’s telling Mo about the architect grandfather she never met by taking her to see vanished and soon-to-be-vanished buildings.
Because Frank knows that it is between what we see and what we can’t, what has gone and what’s left behind, that the answers lie. . .
‘A blend of Dickens and Alan Bennett, written in the kind of stripped-down, flat style that so suits its time and place. I loved it, and am haunted by it.’
‘A compelling, moving and wonderful exploration of what it means to age, of how our sense of ourselves changes in ways we would never expect and can’t always control. O’Flynn writes with a humor and subtle grace that underscores the urgency with which her characters approach their own ends.’
‘A stunning accomplishment, a page-turner shot through with O’Flynn’s compassion and electrifying wit. O’Flynn gives us an unflinching vision of profound loss without ever losing her sense of humor; she shows us that the haunted corridors of the heart can also echo with laughter.’
‘Grim themes, these, one might think, but they are leavened by a flow of laugh-aloud satire’
‘This is a novel brimming with as many ideas and characters as it brims with joy, sadness and comedy.’