Jack is the 11 year old son of an Elvis impersonator who works the clubs at night and fits wigs by day. As his father struggles to break out of the club circuit to bigger things, Jack, a bit of a nerd but more knowing than he seems, starts to come to grips with the bigger things in his own life - like his father's uncanny talent combined with a frightening tendency to violence, other women, his mother's vulnerability, the fact that his school has burned down, his friends are no-hopers and he has nowhere to go. His father is the sun round which the family revolves - big-hearted, unpredictable, too hot for their small lives - and Jack dreams of taking his mother away, though she herself has sadder, smaller plans. Beautifully written, an offbeat tragic-comic novel about families and growing up, which wonderfully evokes Bolton in the seventies, with an undertow of frustrated violence and a backbeat of Elvis, Dean Martin and other all-time greats.
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Janette Jenkins’ first novel, Columbus Day, received impressive praise for its gentle perceptiveness; her second, Another Elvis Love Child takes those virtues and adds some colourful new splashes of humour, irony, even satire.
The landscape is northern England at the fag-end of the 1970s. Jack is a small boy with hopes for a pleasantly dull life reading about Ursa Major in his astronomy books. Unfortunately the other denizens of 59 Parma Street, Bolton, Lancashire, have different ideas. Mum Evie is a fraught but chirpy, neurotic but determined "weenie", a large-hearted local girl with too-much-love-to-give. Dad Joey is a thwarted singer, an Elvis manque, a boozy, bruising, generous, kooky, romantically minded Lancastrian geezer whose determination to make it big in the world, and if not there then in the seamier sides of the northern club circuit, has the whole family and half the street in stitches by page 25, and despair by page 100. Thereafter it’s a swift and entertaining descent into wry defeat and unquiet resignation, with a visit or two to Brittany for some variation on the quixotic theme.
Holes can be picked in this book. The plotting is not breathtakingly complex. The dialogue is sometimes rather too believable--too everyday. And the denouement is not going to knock any reader's socks off. But such is the sheer affection that Jenkins’s lavishes on this self-portrait of her hometown (she’s from Bolton) and homelife (she’s a 70s kid), these faults don’t seem to matter. It is a ruefully funny, satisfyingly bittersweet tale. --Sean ThomasReview:
'Brilliantly observed’ -- New Woman
‘Jenkins’s mastery of the child’s point of view is complete; as is the precision of her evocation of time and place.’ -- The Times
‘Warm and funny’ -- Big Issue
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Book Description Vintage, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: Brand New. new ed edition. 256 pages. 7.83x5.12x0.71 inches. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # zk0099430983