Fathers and Sons
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
There is so much aching love in this book, such pain and beauty. Behold, and rejoice
Tim Winton, author of Cloudstreet
This book tells the story of how family is made. It tells it frankly, unexpectedly and in such a way that both family and expectations are rewritten and renewed. I couldn't put it down. Bold, brave, beautiful - much more than biology. This is life itself.
Jackie Kay, author of Red Dust Road
A miracle of a book: sad, wise, strong and hopeful, its depiction of parenthood will stay with me for a long time
Sunjeev Sahota, author of The Year of the Runaways
Fathers and Sons is a beautiful, moving, and marvellously honest book. I relished its resolutely masculine point of view, especially on such a subject, and the tenderness and sensuality with which Cunnell depicts child-rearing.
Kate Clanchy, author of Antigona and Me