New novel about men, love and relationships by the author of the Book of the Year, Man and Boy.
Alfie Budd found the perfect woman with whom to spend the rest of his life, and then lost her. He doesn’t believe you get a second chance at love.
Returning to the England he left behind during the brief, idyllic time of his marriage, Alfie finds the rest of his world collapsing around him.
He takes comfort in a string of pointless, transient affairs with his students at Churchill’s Language School, and he tries to learn Tai Chi from an old Chinese man, George Chang.
Will Alfie ever find a family life as strong as the Changs’? Can he give up meaningless sex for a meaningful relationship? And how do you play it when the woman you like has a difficult child who is infatuated with a TV wrestler known as The Slab?
Like his runaway bestseller, Man and Boy, Tony Parsons’s new novel is full of laughter and tears, biting social comment and overwhelming emotion.
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In One for My Baby Hong-Kong-based language teacher Alfie Budd is about to ingest several gallons of the stuff. Returning to London to nurse a broken heart, he finds a world he barely recognises. Terry Wogan plays REM on Radio Two, there are Tai Chi classes on Highbury Fields and the England of Alfie's youth seems a distant dream. Alfie's father is now sporting disco gear and pitifully clinging onto his relationship with a Czech au pair half his age. Alfie's mother, meanwhile, cares a great deal about her rose bushes and not at all about getting her husband back.
Dazed by these changes, Alfie drifts--on a cloud of Tsingtao beer and Sinatra-fuelled reverie--into a new teaching job and into a string of pointless affairs with his students. But a man can only drift for so long before he starts to sink--and Alfie must learn some bitter lessons before he can regain the happiness he once knew in Hong Kong.
Tony Parsons' second novel deserves to match the phenomenal success of his first, Man and Boy--although there are reasons why it might not. One for My Baby lacks the cutesy appeal of single fathers bringing up sons and some readers may find it--with its double portion of deaths and mid-life depressions--a more demanding read altogether. The book deals with tough realities, with people who have ceased to love themselves and each other, with snobbery and prejudice and the acute loneliness of city life. But the tale is redeemed, ultimately, because humour and warmth pervade even its darkest corners. The laughable antics of Alfie's father are balanced beautifully by George Chang, Alfie's serene and dignified Tai Chi instructor. And while our hero's journey is an arduous one, we are invited to laugh with and at him and never to pity him. Mr Parsons deserves praise for creating a book that is not merely different to his first but also bigger, tougher and cleverer. --Matthew BaylisReview:
‘Subtle and intelligent’ The Times
‘The same combination of self-deprecating humour and well-intentioned bafflement that endeared Man and Boy to millions of readers’ Observer
‘Stylish, polished, complex and it really gets its teeth into the big issues of sex, love, family and friendship’ Mirror
‘Another brilliant novel that combines laughter and tears, love and sex – and real human emotions’ Evening Standard
‘The writing is confident and accomplished…He makes the reader care…This is art shot through with humanity’ Independent on Sunday
‘Heartbreakingly universal and full of killer lines on love and love lost’ Financial Times
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